Published On: Sat, Mar 2nd, 2013

Authorities abandon efforts to rescue Jeff Bush from sinkhole, plan demo of home for safer access to site

Officials have discontinued the rescue effort of Jeff Bush, the man who was swallowed by a large sinkhole that opened beneath a Seffner home late Thursday night.

“It’s not possible to recover the body,” said County Administrator Mike Merrill during a press conference Saturday evening.

Jeff Bush

Jeff Bush

Demolition of the house is scheduled to begin Sunday morning which is important for securing the site, officials said.

Bush was pulled down into the hole when it developed without warning under his bedroom, is presumed dead.

Authorities were limited in their search and recovery efforts fearing that the house could collapse into the hole at any time.

Experts are saying the work needs to be done from the perimeter and they will be moving in equipment soon to start that process.

The sinkhole currently extends down 50-60 feet and at least one third of the house and interior floor slab has gone into the hole. Officials said the walls are “hanging,” and the hole has extended a bit into the backyard.

“Given the size of the hole I cannot tell you why it has not collapsed yet. We don’t have an explanation for that. The hole beneath there and the instability of the soil, it should’ve collapsed by now. So, it’s amazing that it hasn’t,” said Bill Bracken with Hillsborough Urban Search & Rescue.

“There is a very large fluid mass under this house rendering the entire house and the entire lot unsafe,” said Bill Bracken, with Bracken Engineering. “So at this time we’re still trying to determine the exact nature of what’s down there.”

Merrill said that could take some time.

“For this reason, we’re being very deliberate,” he said, “and I understand that being very deliberate is very painful for the family. They want us to go in fast. But as I’ve told the families the only thing that would be more tragic is to send people in and have more loss of life. So that’s the dilemma, and it’s a very painful dilemma. We’re doing everything we possibly can.”

Authorities have evacuated the neighborhood.

Authorities were unable to contact Bush as the sinkhole expanded, and the house was deemed unsafe for rescuers. The local fire marshal has condemned it, according to Jessica Damico, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Fire Department.





Though authorities have not officially declared the man dead, they say it is safe to presume at this point.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Demolition of Sinkhole home in Florida with removal of American Flag from roof, given to Jeff Bush family - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Bush is presumed dead and the search was abandoned Saturday. […]

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