Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sinkhole victim can't be recovered

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SEFFNER, Fla. -- The effort to find the body of a Florida man who was swallowed by a sinkhole under his Florida home was called off Saturday and crews planned to begin demolishing the four-bedroom house.

The six-metre-wide opening of the sinkhole is almost completely covered by the house and rescuers feared it would collapse on them if they tried to search for Jeff Bush. Crews were testing the unstable ground surrounding the home and evacuated two neighbouring homes as a precaution.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said heavy equipment would be brought in to begin the demolition Sunday.

"At this point it's really not possible to recover the body... we're dealing with a very unusual sinkhole," Merrill said.

Jessica Damico, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, said the demolition equipment would be placed on what they believe is solid ground and reach onto the property to pull apart the house. Bush, 37, was in his bedroom Thursday night in Seffner -- a suburb of 8,000 people 24 kilometres east of downtown Tampa -- when the earth opened and took him and everything else in his room.

Five others in the house escaped unharmed.

On Saturday, the normally quiet neighbourhood was jammed with cars as engineers, reporters and curious onlookers came to the scene.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 3, 2013 A6

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