A giant sinkhole in Florida has opened up two years after a sinkhole in the same spot swallowed a sleeping man and killed him, authorities said Wednesday.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and others agencies responded Wednesday to a report of a sinkhole in Seffner, a town east of Tampa, in the same location where a man died in 2013, according to the fire department. “Upon arrival, it was confirmed that this is the same sinkhole,” a fire and rescue statement read.
The sinkhole measures about 20 feet in diameter, no one has been injured and nearby homes haven’t been evacuated, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesman Ronnie Rivera told the Associated Press.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released aerial footage of the sinkhole:
Jeffery Bush, 37, had been asleep in the little blue house on Feb. 28, 2013, when at about 11 p.m., a giant sinkhole opened below and swallowed his entire bedroom.
Bush’s brother, Jeremy, jumped into the hole to try to rescue his brother. Emergency responders pulled him out, and Jeffery Bush’s body was never recovered.
Crews tried to lower listening devices into the hole but it was unstable; another collapse buried one such device. Days later, authorities deemed the property too unsafe to enter and decided to demolish the house.
“I want to let him know I loved him,” Jeremy Bush told the Tampa Bay Times before gravel was poured into the giant hole. “I tried my hardest to get you out, bro.”
The sinkhole measured 15 feet wide and 20 feet deep, with a “disturbed area” of soil measuring 50 feet around the hole, documents showed.
Florida has more sinkholes than any other state, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. They occur because the entire state has limestone beneath it, which slowly dissolves from weak natural acids in rain and soil, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
State law requires insurers to cover “catastrophic ground cover collapse,” according to the insurance regulation agency. Hillsborough County, where Jeffery Bush died, is in “sinkhole alley.”
While thousands of Florida sinkholes have been reported in recent decades, Florida Geological Survey geologist Clint Kromhout told the Orlando Sentinel that there have been just four sinkhole deaths reported in the state. He called sinkhole fatalities “extremely rare.”
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