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Sinkhole swallows Florida man

Engineers worked in front of a home where sinkhole opened up underneath a bedroom and swallowed a man.

AP

Engineers worked in front of a home where sinkhole opened up underneath a bedroom and swallowed a man.

SEFFNER, Fla. — In a matter of seconds, the earth opened under Jeff Bush’s bedroom and swallowed him up like something out of a horror movie. About the only thing left was the TV cable running down into the hole.

Bush, 37, was presumed dead Friday, the victim of a sinkhole — a hazard so common in Florida that state law requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger.

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The sinkhole, estimated at 20 feet across and 20 feet deep, caused the home’s concrete floor to cave in around 11 p.m. Thursday as everyone in the Tampa-area house was turning in for the night. It gave way with a loud crash that sounded like a car hitting the house and brought Bush’s brother running.

Jeremy Bush said he jumped into the hole but couldn’t see his brother and had to be rescued by a sheriff’s deputy who reached out and pulled him to safety as the ground crumbled around him.

‘‘The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn’t care. I wanted to save my brother,’’ Jeremy Bush said through tears on Friday in a neighbor’s yard. ‘‘But I just couldn’t do nothing.’’

He added: ‘‘I could swear I heard him hollering my name to help him.’’

Officials lowered equipment into the sinkhole and saw no signs of life, said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico.

A dresser and the TV set had vanished down the hole, along with most of Bush’s bed.

‘‘All I could see was the cable wire running from the TV going down into the hole. I saw a corner of the bed and a corner of the box spring and the frame of the bed,’’ Jeremy Bush said.

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