Engineers say the home is on unstable ground and it is too dangerous to enter
12:04 AM, Mar 2, 2013
12:07 AM, Mar 2, 2013
SEFFNER, Fla - It has been more than a day since a sinkhole swallowed a Seffner man and rescuers are at a standstill.
Engineers and sinkhole experts came out to the property Thursday to assess the land and what lies beneath the now condemned home. They used ground penetrating radar and other tests, but their results did not lead them to any answers as to how or if they will ever recover Jeff Bush.
"Given the size of this home, I don't know why it hasn't collapsed yet," said Bill Bracken, an engineer. "I have no explanation for that."
Bush, 36, was asleep in his bedroom when the floor went out beneath him. He screamed to his brother for help. By the time his brother got to his room, there was nothing left. Visible in the hole was a dresser and mattress. Jeff, sadly, could not be rescued.
The sinkhole is now measuring 30 feet wide and 25 feet deep. Sinkhole experts did feel movement Friday afternoon and determined the sinkhole is getting bigger.
"This site is extremely unstable," said Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill. "This is not your typical sinkhole. This is chasm that goes a great distance and we have still not been able to find the boundaries."
Sinkhole expert Larry Madrid is calling this sinkhole unprecedented.
"The soil cannot hold the slope that it has right now so we do expect this sinkhole to continue to grow," explained Madrid.
Soil samples taken from the property revealed extremely soft sand is directly beneath the home, followed by soft clay and then limestone. This presents a problem for rescuers because they have no solid ground to stand on or to put equipment.
While rescuers and experts worked, Bush's family looked on in frustration from across the street. According to Merrill, the family wants rescuers to act as quick as possible. However, the danger is too extreme, leaving workers and family members to deal with a painful dilemma.
'I cannot in good consciousness have additional people on this site when I am being told that it is seriously unstable," Merrill added.
Cameras and audio equipment lowered into the hole have yet to pick up any signs of life.
"We are very sorry for this family's loss in this tragedy," Merrill said.
The two homes adjacent to the Bush home had to be evacuated. It is not clear when or if those people will be able to return home.
The Red Cross is working with those families and the Bush's.
Drilling and tests are expected to resume at sun up.