Sinkhole Swallows Florida Man As Hole Opens Under His Home

Category: Society / Mar 01, 2013 12:51PM EDT
A Florida man was missing on Friday (March 1) after a sinkhole suddenly opened up beneath the bedroom of his suburban Tampa home, police officials said. Rescuers responded to a 911 call late on Thursday and rescued the man’s brother from the edge of the sinkhole as it spread under the house, according to Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers. "They heard a sound that they described as a car crash emanating from the bedroom in the back of the house. They rushed in, all they could see was part of a mattress sticking out of the hole. Essentially the floor of that room had opened up. They could hear the nephew in the hole, but they could not see him. His brother jumped in to try to extricate him out - could not see him," said Rogers. According to Rogers, sinkholes are fairly common in the state of Florida. "Florida essentially sits on a system of caverns that are filled with water to some degree and as that water moves up and down it erodes those caverns and from time to time they collapse, so the question really is what's down there and how much earth is it going to take to fill it," he said. Four other adults and a child were in the house at the time and managed to escape. Authorities have not been able to contact the missing man in the sinkhole, which officials believe to be about 20 to 30 feet wide (6 to 9 meters) and at least 20 feet deep. A safety perimeter of 100 feet (30 meters) across has been set around the home to prevent further incidents. Video Source: Reuters