A Florida sinkhole that killed a man in 2013 just opened for the third time

Jul 14, 2023, 6:00 AM

This photo provided by Florida's Hillsborough County shows a sinkhole that killed man in 2013. Phot...

This photo provided by Florida's Hillsborough County shows a sinkhole that killed man in 2013. Photo credit: Todd Pratt/Hillsborough County/AP

(CNN) — A sinkhole in west-central Florida has opened again, roughly 10 years after it killed a man when it opened under his bedroom, officials said this week.

It’s the third time the sinkhole in Seffner, roughly a 15-mile drive east of Tampa, has opened.

After the hole claimed the life of Jeff Bush in 2013, sending him plunging dozens of feet into the earth, Hillsborough County filled the hole and bought the property and home next to it to make sure no one lived too close. Then, in 2015, the hole reopened – about 20 feet wide at the time – and was again filled. No one was injured in the 2015 reopening.

On Monday, county officials were told the sinkhole had once again opened, said Jon-Paul Lavandeira, division director for county code enforcement. Officials ensured the surrounding communities were not impacted and informed nearby residents it was safe to stay in their homes, the county said in a news release.

A sinkhole remediation contractor visited the site Tuesday to draft a plan. Authorities have not yet been able to determine what caused the sinkhole to open again, a spokesperson for the county told CNN.

The remediation work could begin as early as Friday, spokesperson Todd Pratt said. The contractor expects the hole will be filled with 150 tons of a water-and-gravel mixture, Pratt added.

The site is closed to the public, surrounded by two layers of fence, the county said.

Bush’s brother, Jeremy Bush, told CNN affiliate WFTS that seeing the sinkhole open again is a crippling reminder of the terrifying night in 2013 he heard his sibling screaming for help before vanishing into the ground.

“Ain’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my brother,” he told the news station this week. “Stuff that happened in that house that night, and hearing my brother yell and scream for me to help him, I hear it all the time.”

Man called out for help, then disappeared

Jeremy Bush, who was at the home when the sinkhole opened in February 2013, tried everything he could to save his brother after he heard him calling for help, he told CNN that year. By the time he reached his brother’s room, it was already destroyed.

“Everything was gone. My brother’s bed, my brother’s dresser, my brother’s TV. My brother was gone,” he said at the time.

He tried frantically to rescue his brother, standing in the hole and digging at the rubble with a shovel, he said. Authorities responded and pulled Jeremy Bush out, telling him the floor was still collapsing.

Jeremy Bush and four other people, including a 2-year-old child, escaped from the blue, one-story 1970s-era home that was on top of the sinkhole.

Jeff Bush’s remains were never recovered.

Sinkholes are common in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The state lies on bedrock made of limestone or other carbonate rock that can be eaten away by acidic groundwater, forming voids that collapse when the rock can no longer support the weight of what’s above it.

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A Florida sinkhole that killed a man in 2013 just opened for the third time