SEFFNER, Fla. — A man who jumped into a chasm and tried in vain to save his brother from a catastrophic sinkhole said Monday he was frustrated that authorities haven’t done more to retrieve the body — even as another sinkhole opened up just a couple of miles away.
“They said it was dangerous, but you see this heavy equipment, you see that?” Jeremy Bush, choking back tears, asked reporters. “The house is still standing. The only reason the house fell is because they put the machines on it.”
He said that his parents are “going through hell right now.”
The first sinkhole opened last Thursday night and engulfed Jeff Bush, 36, who was in his bedroom. Jeremy Bush jumped in to save him and had to be rescued himself by sheriff’s deputies.
Authorities have said that the cavity is so unstable that nearby houses are unsafe, and that it is too dangerous to send a crew to recover the body.
On Monday, the long arm of an excavator parked in the street dug carefully through the remains of the house. Once crews finish demolishing the structure, authorities can get a better look at the hole and figure out how to stabilize and fill it.
William Puz, a spokesman for Hillsborough County, said a crew would try later Monday to retrieve a china cabinet that was valuable to the family. The crew planned either to wrap the cabinet and lift it out or to send a worker in a bucket to save individual pieces.
He said the crew hoped to finish demolition by the end of the day.
Working gingerly, heavy equipment began pulling apart the house over the weekend, scooping precious belongings onto the lawn. A Bible, family photos, a jewelry box and a pink teddy bear were among the items saved.
Workers penetrated the walls leading to the bedroom on Monday and got their first look at the sinkhole, which engineers estimate is 30 feet wide and 60 feet deep.
Jeff Bush lived in the house, outside Tampa, with his girlfriend, their 2-year-old daughter and two other people. The others in the house were unharmed.
Jeremy Bush said that his mother was waking up every hour and crying in bed.
“No one ever wants to bury their kid before they go,” he said.
Meanwhile, county officials received more bad news late Monday afternoon as another sinkhole was discovered less than two miles away, NBC’s WFLA reported.
The 10-feet deep sinkhole is located behind a home and officials say thus far there have been no injuries or structural damage.