Jeremy Bush tells tale of rushing to save brother Jeff from sudden sinkhole

12:56 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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Seffner, Florida -- They say it sounded like a car crash. The floors of two bedrooms in a house on Faithway Drive were swallowed in an instant at around 11 p.m. Thursday.

Jeff Bush, 36, had been asleep in one of those rooms. His brother Jeremy sprinted in, trying to save him.

"And all I seen was the tops of his bed. I didn't see nothing else. So I jumped in the hole to try digging him out. And I couldn't get him," Jeremy said, his voice cracking.

SINKHOLE DATABASE: Look up your county

"I thought I could hear him screaming for me, hollering for me, 'Help me!' I couldn't do nothing," he said, as he started to cry.

The hole inside the house kept expanding around Jeremy as he searched for Jeff.

"It swallowed his whole bed, his dresser. Everything in his room was gone. Ain't nothing in his room there at all no more," Jeremy said.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy Douglas Duvall burst into the house.

He didn't see Jeff beneath the sand, but he did see Jeremy -- the intended rescuer -- struggling himself in the growing hole.

Duvall put his own life on the line to pull Jeremy out and keep him from becoming a second victim.

"The cop snatched me out of the hole, told me I can't be in there. The hole was still caving in. I didn't care. I just wanted my brother, man," Jeremy said.

See Also: Florida Sinkhole map provided by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Geological Survey (PDF)

This family says it has owned the home since it was built 40 years ago and they've never seen a single sign of a sinkhole.

"He was a good guy. A hard worker. I'm just sorry to see that he's gone," Jeremy said, as more tears came down his cheeks. "I just want my brother. That's all I want."

Urban Search and Rescue experts from Hillsborough County Fire-Rescue lowered listening devices into the hole, as well as a pair of cameras. They say they heard and saw no signs of life from Jeff Bush.

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