Sinkholes: When the Earth Opens Up
The ground beneath our feet, our cars, our buildings, appears to be incredibly solid. But, rarely, that solid ground can simply open up without warning, dropping whatever was above into an unpredictably deep.hole. Sinkholes can be anywhere from a few feet wide and deep, to two thousand feet in diameter and depth. An undiscovered cavern or deep mine can collapse, allowing the ground above to crater, or a broken water main or heavy storm can erode a hole from below, until the surface becomes a thin shell that collapses at once. Communities built atop karst formations are very susceptible, where a layer of bedrock is water-soluble, like limestone, and natural processes can wear away caves and fissures, weakening support of the ground above. Gathered here are images of some of these sinkholes, both man-made and natural, around the world.
A car at the bottom of a sinkhole caused by a broken water line in Toledo, Ohio on July 3, 2013. Police say the driver, 60-year-old Pamela Knox of Toledo, was shaken up and didn't appear hurt but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Fire officials told a local TV station that a water main break caused the large hole. (AP Photo/Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld, Toledo Fire and Rescue)
A Toledo firefighter rescues Pamela Knox after a massive sinkhole opened up underneath her car in Toledo, Ohio, on July 3, 2013.(Reuters/Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld/Toledo Fire and Rescue) #
A Los Angeles fireman looks under a fire truck stuck in a sinkhole in the Valley Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, on September 8, 2009. Four firefighters escaped injury early Tuesday after their fire engine sunk into a large hole caused by a burst water main in the San Fernando Valley, authorities said. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) #
On the night of November 11, 1957, a huge hole opened up in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood, caused by the failure of an underlying six-foot diameter sewer pipe. The 60-foot-deep hole affected only the streets, sidewalks and some yards, as seen in this photo taken at 16th Ave. NE and Ravenna Blvd on November 15, 1957. No homes were damaged, and nobody was injured, but the hole took two years to fill and repair. More on the story here. Also, see this intersection today on Google Maps Street View.(Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives) #
Aerial view of a huge hole caused after a collapse in the sewage system in the neighborhood of San Antonio, north of Guatemala city, on February 23, 2007. Three people were killed in the collapse, as twelve homes were swallowed up. (Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images) #
A hole remains where a structure once stood in Guatemala City, on February 23, 2007. A giant sinkhole swallowed several homes killing at least three people, officials said. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #
This aerial view shows a large sinkhole that claimed several sports cars, a house, and the deep end of the city swimming pool, in Winter Park, Florida, on May 11, 1981. (AP Photo) #
A man inspects a sinkhole formed in a house on July 19, 2011 in the north of Guatemala City. When neighbors heard a loud boom overnight they thought a gas canister had detonated. Instead they found a deep sinkhole inside a home in a neighborhood just north of Guatemala City. The sinkhole was 12.2 meters (40 feet) deep and 80 centimeters (32 inches) in diameter, an AFP journalist who visited the site reported. Guatemala City, built on volcanic deposits, is especially prone to sinkholes, often blamed on a leaky sewer system or on heavy rain. (Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images) #
A truck lies in a sinkhole which occurred overnight on Shiliuzhuang road, in Beijing, on April 26, 2011. A section of the road collapsed beneath the truck, slightly injuring the driver and a passenger, who both jumped out the vehicle before it sank into the hole.(AFP/Getty Images) #
Three homes damaged from a sinkhole sit on the edge of a hill whose lower area collapsed onto other homes in the LaJolla section of San Diego, on October 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Chris Park) #
A fireman watches a cow being lifted out of a five meter deep hole at Saint Saulve near Valenciennes, northern France, on June 19, 2001. The ground collapsed as two cows crossed over an underground quarry. The cows were unhurt. (Reuters) #
Rescuers work at the scene of a landslide in Saint-Jude, Quebec as shown from the air on Tuesday, May 11, 2010. Four people, including two children, are missing after a sinkhole triggered by a landslide swallowed their house northeast of Montreal.(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes) #
In June of 1994, a huge hole, 106 ft. wide by 185 ft. deep, opened in the center of an IMC-Agrico waste stack near Mulberry, Florida. The sinkhole, shown in this July 13, 1994 photo, released 20.8 million pounds of liquid phosphoric acid into the ground below, and into the Floridan aquifer, which provides 90 percent of the state's drinking water. The company voluntarily spent $6.8 million to plug the sinkhole and control the spread of contaminants in the ground water. (AP Photo/Selbypic) #
Police tape surrounds the house of Jeff Bush, who was consumed by a sinkhole while lying in his bed on the night of April 30, 2013 in Seffner, Florida. First responders were not able to reach Bush after he disappeared and were unable to even recover the body. The house and two neighboring houses were later demolished. (Edward Linsmier/Getty Images) #
An aerial view of sinkholes created by the drying of the Dead Sea, near Kibbutz Ein Gedi, Israel, on November 10, 2011.(Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images) #
The Lassing mining disaster. On July 17, 1998 a Talc mine below the town of Lassing, Austria, experienced a partial collapse, filling with groundwater and opening up a sinkhole in the town above. Shortly after, a rescue crew of 10 men went into the mine to search for a single missing miner, and a massive collapse followed, opening up an even larger crater above. The first missing miner was found alive after ten days, but all ten of the rescue team members were killed. Here, workers examine the crater, on July 22, 1998.(AP Photo/ Martin Gnedt) #
A giant sinkhole caused by the rains of tropical storm Agatha, in Guatemala City, on June 1, 2010. The hole swallowed at least one three-story building. (Reuters/Daniel LeClair) #
Neighbors gather near the site of a huge sinkhole in Guatemala City, on May 30, 2010. (Reuters/Daniel LeClair) #
A giant sinkhole in Guatemala City, on May 31, 2010. More than 94,000 were evacuated as the storm buried homes under mud, swept away a highway bridge near Guatemala City and opened up several sinkholes in the capital. (Reuters/Casa Presidencial) #
Workers use machinery to fill in a sinkhole that buildings collapsed into near a subway construction site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, on January 28, 2013. The hole measured about 1,000 square feet, and was around 30 feet deep, but no one was killed, according to a state media report. (AFP/Getty Images) #
A bus, after falling into a pit created by an underground explosion in Rui'an, Zhejiang province, on January 16, 2011. An explosion on a road in east China's Zhejiang Province tossed a bus without passengers four meters into the air, injuring the driver and a 6-year-old boy on the roadside, local fire fighters said on Sunday. The cause of the explosion was under investigation, Xinhua News Agency reported.(Reuters/China Daily) #
People stand next to a 24.9 meter (82 feet) diameter pit at a village in Guangyuan, Sichuan province, on February 28, 2013. According to local media the pit formed on a karst landform last year after the ground surface kept sinking for six days in September. The investigators said the pit may face further sinking after rains due to its geological conditions. (Reuters/Stringer) #
A campsite is sucked underground by the opening of cavernous sinkholes near the Ein Gedi Spa on the shores of the Dead Sea, on September 10, 2008. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images) #
A large crater that appeared in the early hours in the German town of Schmalkalden, on November 1, 2010. (Reuters/Alex Domanski) #
A man walks past a cement truck which fell into a pit after the road caved in, in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on September 28, 2012.(Reuters/China Daily) #
A stranded car is hoisted from a collapsed road surface in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on September 7, 2008.(Reuters/China Daily) #
Local residents look at a sinkhole near Qingquan primary school in Dachegnqiao town of Ningxiang, Hunan province, on June 15, 2010. The hole, 150 meters (492 feet) wide and 50 meters (164 feet) deep, first appeared in January and has destroyed 20 houses so far.(Reuters/Stringer) #
A local resident throws a stone into a sinkhole near Qingquan primary school in Dachegnqiao town, Hunan province, on June 15, 2010. No causalities had been reported and the reason for the appearance of the hole remains unclear. (Reuters/Stringer)
They usually hit the headlines for swallowing cars, houses and occasionally whole streets.
But this particular sinkhole in Oman is so stunning it has been turned into a tourist attraction.
The beautiful limestone hollow, in Bimmah, boasts the kind of clear waters normally only seen on holiday postcards.
While similar holes engulf residential streets or open up in front of despairing home owners, the Bimmah sinkhole has long been attracting tourists eager for a picturesque swim.
Stunning: A concrete stairway leads to the base of the picturesque Bimmah sinkhole in Oman, which is considered more beautiful than many others of its type
Taking a dip: A number of tourists have a swim in the emerald-tinted waters in Bayt al-Afreet, Oman where the Bimmah sinkhole is found
Inviting: Sinkholes like the stunning one in Oman are formed when groundwater travels through easily-dissolved rock
Visitors are regularly spotted at the Oman site taking a dip in the vibrant emerald-tinted waters of its 20m-deep pool.
Sinkholes are found worldwide, and can form suddenly or over time, ranging in size from just one metre wide to 600m in size. The ground beneath the holes is normally made of easily-dissolved rocks such as limestone, carbonates and salt beds.
When groundwater flows through these rocks, it eats away at the rock, leaving behind subterranean holes and caverns.
When the roof of one of these caverns collapses, the land above it falls in too, leaving giant holes such as the one in Oman.
Scenic: The sinkhole in Oman boasts the kind of clear waters and dramatic cliff faces normally seen on holiday postcards
Tranquil: A passer-by stops to take in the unusual view at the Bimmah sinkhole between Qurayat and Sur in Oman
Monster sinkhole that swallowed Kansas pasture turns tourist attraction... and it's getting bigger
Residents in western Kansas are being warned to watch their step after a gigantic sinkhole opened up overnight this week in the area, swallowing an entire pasture.
In a shocking development that has left many in the area scratching their heads, the Wallace County Sheriff's officials say the enormous 90-feet-deep chasm measuring 200 across feet has since continued spreading, gobbling up more land.
The freak sinkhole has left many people in the rural area on edge while drawing others to gape at the odd phenomenon north of Sharon Springs.
Freak sinkhole: This massive chasm opened up seemingly overnight near Sharon Springs in western Kansas
Awe-inspiring: The monster pit is 90 feet deep and measures 200 feet across
Growing: Cracks surrounding the sinkhole suggest that it is expanding
Ravenous: The gigantic hole swallowed Dalton Hoss' large pasture
A few days ago, Dalton Hoss first noticed cracks in the ground on his property. A short time later, his meadow was gone, replaced by a gigantic pit in the ground.
‘Actually, my brother found it. He called me up and his voice was quaking and he said, “You'll never believe what I just saw,"’ Hoss told the station KWCH. Sheriff Larry Townsend said the void is surrounded by cracks, suggesting that it is getting bigger, and at this time, there is no telling when it will stop expanding.
Mystery: No one knows what caused the ground to open up or when the sinkhole is going to stop expanding
Act of God? There are no oil wells or irrigation wells in the area that could have caused the sinkhole to open up
Local attraction: Visitors have been flocking to the area to take a peek at the awe-inspiring pit
‘Man had nothing to do with this. This is a God thing,’ the sheriff stated. ‘ There's no oil well around here, there are no irrigation wells anywhere near. This is something that just happened.’
It remains unknown what caused the ground to open up in the first place, or how to prevent the sinkhole from swallowing more land. Experts are set to visit the site in the coming days to examine the ground.
No injuries have been reported in connection to the sinkhole so far, but concerns have been raised that people who have been flocking to the site to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring tourist attraction may be putting themselves in harm's way.
Hoss is attempting to prevent curious visitors from approaching the yawning chasm on his land for their safety.
Professional help: Experts are set to visit the site in the coming days to examine chasm
Safety concerns: The owner of the land is attempting to prevent curious visitors from approaching the pit for fear that they might get hurt
There have been several incidents in recent months involving larger-than-life sinkholes. In July, a chasm in Toledo, Ohio, swallowed a woman's car as she was driving. Luckily, she was able to escape the vehicle alive.
In May, a New Jersey man was killed when the ground opened up beneath the warehouse where he worked.
Earlier this year, a Florida resident perished under similar circumstances when a giant chasm swallowed his home while he was sleeping inside.
They may look like stills from an apocalyptic horror film, but these images have become a daily reality for residents in a Russian city.
Citizens of Samara, in south east Russia, live in fear of the ground literally disappearing beneath them after huge sinkholes have started to appear all over their city, leaving devastation in their wake.
The yawning underground caverns are all believed to have sprung up in recent weeks swallowing cars, buses and claiming at least one life.
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The city of Samara in Russia appears to be sinking into the earth, as massive sinkholes open up swallowing cars and wreaking havoc
The sinkholes, some large enough to swallow an entire truck, are believed to have opened up as the Russian winter subsides
There has reportedly been at least one fatality as a result of the sinkholes in the city, Russia's sixth largest
VIDEO Call that a pothole? Russian cabbie falls into huge sinkhole
The sinkholes, some large enough to swallow an entire truck, are believed to have been caused by ground subsidence.
It is thought the holes have been caused as ice thaws and melts into the ground, with the excess water causing soil decay underneath Samara's roads.
The massive craters have appeared in car parks, busy intersections, by the sides of roads, and on major and minor thoroughfares.
The gaping craters have baffled residents who now live in daily fear of the ground literally swallowing them
Dozens of the massive craters, have appeared at random in recent weeks, reportedly as the winter thaws leaving the ground soaked with water
These pictures are all believed to have been taken in recent weeks as the ground decays beneath the city's infrastructure
Sinkholes are common hazards in mining regions, plaguing areas where miners have burrowed into layers of soluble minerals and accidental floods have followed
It is believed at least one person has lost their life as a result of one of the crashes caused by the sinkholes. The citizens of the city have now signed a petition urging authorities to find a solution. Sinkholes are common hazards in mining regions, plaguing areas where miners have burrowed into layers of soluble minerals and accidental floods have followed. But natural sinkholes can take thousands of years to form and vary in size. They are usually the result of what are known as Karst processes, which occur when a layer of rock such as limestone underneath the ground is dissolved by acidic water. Typically rainfall seeps through the soil, absorbing carbon dioxide and reacting with decaying vegetation. As a result, the water that reaches the soluble rock is acidic.
The problem is thought to be causing carnage across the city. Now residents have organised a petition to urge authorities to find a solution
The collapse of the surface above a sinkhole can happen suddenly or over a few hours. Heavy rainfall or poor drainage systems can trigger a collapse
The acidic water then erodes the soluble rock layers beneath the surface creating cavernous spaces.
Then, when it is no longer supported because of the cavity below, the soil or sand over the limestone collapses into a sinkhole.
The collapse of the surface can happen suddenly or over a few hours. Heavy rainfall or poor drainage systems can trigger a collapse.
Citizens in Berezniki, Russia, have also been plagued by sinkholes.
Census data, though, shows that about 12,000 people left the town between 2005 and 2010, after a number of holes opened up.
They are also common in Florida, America.
Jeff Bush, 37, was swallowed into a sinkhole and killed while he slept in his bed in February in the
Feared dead: Jeff Bush was sucked into a 100-ft-wide sinkhole that opened under his bedroom
Crews will today continue razing the home of Florida man Jeff Bush who was swallowed by a sinkhole under the house as officials have deemed it too dangerous to continue searching for his body.
A heavy machine with a large bucket scoop was moved into position Sunday on what is believed to be solid ground, at a close enough distance that workers can still reach onto the property and pull the house apart, Jessica Damico, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue told reporters. The effort to find Bush's body was called off Saturday while crews tried to learn how far the underground cavity reaches and whether more homes are at risk. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole was almost covered by the house, and rescuers said there were no signs of life since the hole opened Thursday night. Jeremy Bush, the man who tried to save his brother, was escorted with a woman by a deputy to the front of the house early Sunday before equipment moved into position.
He repositioned some flowers from a makeshift memorial to a safer location, where Bush and the unidentified women knelt in prayer. People gathered on lawn chairs, bundled up with blankets against unusually chilly weather. Several dozen milled about within view, including officials and reporters. Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said officials had talked to Bush family Sunday. Crews would try their best to move the structure forward, toward the street, so the family can get some belongings, Merrill said. 'We don't know, in fact, whether it will collapse or whether it will hold up,' he said.
Crash: Demolition experts watch as the home is destroyed
Demolition: Positioning equipment on what they believe is solid ground, crews begin tearing down Bush's house
Mystery: As the site is cleared, crews hope to discover how deep the cavity goes and if any other houses are still at risk
Memorial: Bush's friends and family gathered at the site to remember their lost friend, with some kneeling to say a silent prayer as demolition began. He said crews' goal for Sunday is to knock down the house, and on Monday they will clear the debris as much as possible to allow officials and engineers to see the sinkhole in the open. 'At this point it's really not possible to recover the body,' said Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill, later adding 'we're dealing with a very unusual sinkhole.' Bush, 37, was in his bedroom Thursday night in Seffner - a suburb of 8,000 people 15 miles east of downtown Tampa - when the earth opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five others in the house escape unharmed.
Before the collapse: Friends remembered Bush with a makeshift memorial
Missed: Jeremy Bush prays in front of the house, where his brother Jeffrey was swallowed by a sinkhole, before its demolition
Tearful: Jeremy Bush wipes his face after praying in front of the house as crews get ready to raze the structure
On Saturday, the normally quiet neighborhood of concrete block homes painted in Florida pastels was jammed with cars as engineers, reporters, and curious onlookers came to the scene. At the home next door to the Bushes, a family cried and organized boxes. Testing determined that their house also was compromised by the sinkhole, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesman Ronnie Rivera. The family, which had evacuated Friday, was allowed to go inside for about a half-hour to gathering belongings.
Investigation: Once the house is knocked down, they will clear the debris as much as possible on Monday to allow officials and engineers to see the sinkhole in the open
Lost: Officials said there was no way to recover Bush's body as the sinkhole was so unique
Remembered: Jeremy Bush carries flowers to the home over a huge sinkhole that swallowed his brother Jeffrey late Thursday. Sisters Soliris and Elbairis Gonzalez, who live on the same street as Bushes, said rumors were circulating among neighbors, with people concerned for their safety. "I've had nightmares," Soliris Gonzalez, 31, said. "In my dreams, I keep checking for cracks in the house." They said the family has discussed where to go if forced to evacuate, and they've taken their important documents to a storage unit.
Crushed: Demolition experts watch as the home of Jeff Bush, 37, is destroyed Sunday
Memories: Officials say they will try to drag the structure close to safe ground so family can try and recover some of Bush's belongings. "The rest of it, this is material stuff, as long as our family is fine," Soliris Gonzalez said. "You never know underneath the ground what's happening," added Elbairis Gonzalez, 30. Experts say thousands of sinkholes erupt yearly in Florida because of the state's unique geography, though most are small and deaths rarely occur.
Tragic: Jeremy Bush could hear his brother calling for help but said there was nothing he could do to save him
All day: The demolition is likely to continue to Monday before the sinkhole can be examined. "There's hardly a place in Florida that's immune to sinkholes," said Sandy Nettles, who owns a geology consulting company in the Tampa area. "There's no way of ever predicting where a sinkhole is going to occur." Most sinkholes are small, like one found Saturday morning in Largo, 35 miles away from Seffner. The Largo sinkhole, at about 10 feet long and several feet wide, is in a mall parking lot. Such discoveries are common throughout the year in Florida.
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Gone: Brother Jeremy Bush reacts after placing flowers and a stuffed animal at a makeshift memorial in front of a home where a sinkhole opened up underneath a bedroom late Thursday evening and swallowed sibling Jeffrey in Seffner, Florida
Condemned:The home where Mr Bush disappeared into the sinkhole is set to be demolished
Horror: A man is presumed dead after a sinkhole opened up beneath his house in Brandon, Florida, pictured
Hidden: The sinkhole is only visible from inside the house but could be 100 foot wide under the surface
The state is prone because it sits on limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water, with a layer of clay on top. The clay is thicker in some locations - including the area where Bush became a victim - making them even more prone to sinkholes. Jonathan Arthur, the state geologist and director of the Florida Geological Survey, said other states sit atop limestone in a similar way, but Florida has additional factors - extreme weather, development, aquifer pumping and construction - that can cause sinkholes. "The conditions under which a sinkhole will form can be very rapid, or they can form slowly over time," he said. But it remained unclear Saturday what, if anything, caused the Seffner sinkhole. "The condition that caused that sinkhole could have started a million years ago," Nettles said. Engineers had been testing in the area of the Bush house since 7 a.m. Saturday. By 10 a.m., officials moved media crews farther away so experts could test a home across the street. Experts spent the previous day on the property, taking soil samples and running tests - while acknowledging that the entire lot where Bush lay entombed was dangerous. On Saturday, officials were still not allowing anyone in the Bush home. Jeremy Bush, who tried to rescue his brother, lay flowers and a stuffed lamb near the house Saturday morning and wept. He said someone came to his home a couple of months ago to check for sinkholes and other issues, apparently for insurance purposes, but found nothing wrong. State law requires home insurers to provide coverage against sinkholes. "And a couple of months later, my brother dies. In a sinkhole," Bush said Friday. 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. Rescue efforts to retrieve the body of a Florida man sucked into a 100-ft-deep sinkhole that opened beneath his bedroom have stalled on Saturday for fear the entire home will collapse. Florida authorities described the sinkhole as 'seriously unstable' and said the massive opening will likely continue to grow. A terrifying scene unfolded at the home in Brandon, near Tampa, on Thursday night when Jeff Bush, 37, was swallowed into the massive opening and trapped beneath the rubble. He is presumed dead. The sinkhole swallowed part of the interior of the house and though the home's exterior appears to be intact, rescuers fear the ground is unstable. Tests have revealed a considerable amount of water accumulating beneath the structure, making efforts even more dangerous.
Heartbreak: Jeremy Bush, whose brother Jeff was sucked into a sinkhole, breaks down outside the home
Grief: Jeremy had rushed to his brother's room when he heard his screams but it was too late
Shock: The man recounted how he had tried to save his brother but could only see the bed in the hole
Local engineers were expected to continue carrying out tests on Saturday to determine if rescuers could enter the home. Bill Bracken, an engineer with Hillsborough County Urban Search and Rescue team told ABC News the house 'should have collapsed by now, so it's amazing that it hasn't.' The search team expressed their frustration on Friday night as the sinkhole kept increasing in size, starting at 15 ft deep and growing to 100 ft deep, making it too perilous to continue. Speaking to ABC News, Hillsborough County Officials said it was too unstable to use the equipment needed to try and reach the man. 'Until we know where it's safe to bring the equipment, we really are just handicapped and paralyzed and can't really do a whole lot more than sit and wait,' Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers said. 'It's a tough situation; it's even tougher for the family.' Crews have cautiously been using ground penetrating sonar equipment at the site to map the subsurface throughout the day. Workers swarmed the area as Jeremy Bush, 36, recalled how he desperately tried to pull his brother, Jeff, from the rubble as he heard his screams for help. 'We heard a loud crash,' Jeremy told My Fox Tampa Bay as he broke down in tears. 'I ran in there and heard somebody screaming, my brother screaming, and I ran in there. 'And all I see is this big hole. All I see is the top of his bed. I didn't see anything else, so I jumped in the hole and tried getting him out. "The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn't care. I wanted to save my brother. I could hear him screaming for me, hollering for me. I couldn't do nothing.' The dresser and the TV set also vanished down the hole, he said.
'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,' he said. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials arrived at the home at 11 p.m. on Thursday and the first officer on the scene rescued Jeremy Bush from the edge of the chasm. Lt. Donald Morris from Hillbosourgh County Sheriff's Department described the scene officers found. 'The mattress, the bed, everything was actually going down in the hole where the first person had gone and now the second person is in the hole trying to save the first,' he said.
'And they're not being successful so [the rescuer is] just reacting and doing what they have to do to get that person out. It was deep enough that the person he pulled out to safety was not ale to fully extend their arms and even reach the top.'
Hunt: Officials use ground penetrating sonar to map the subsurface around the home to determine the extent of the danger. Crews will take this information and create a plan of action to recover Bush
Recovery effort: Crews deploy a cable controlled robot into a storm drain to look for additional damage
Search: A technician views a live video feed from a robot sent into a storm drain underneath the property
Listening devices and cameras were placed in the hole but there had been no contact with the missing man by early Friday. 'We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn't see anything compatible with life,' Fire rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said. She said that the sinkhole was 30 feet across at the surface, but that engineers have estimated that below the surface it could be as wide as 100 feet and 50 feet deep. 'The entire house is on the sinkhole,' Damico said.
Rescue attempt: His brother heard his screams for help and rushed to his room where he saw the huge hole
Mourning: Family members are seen comforting each other outside the Tampa area home on Friday morning
Engineers said they may have to demolish the small, sky-blue house, even though from the outside, there appeared to be nothing wrong with the four-bedroom, concrete-wall structure, built in 1974.
The sinkhole is not visible above ground except from inside the house, and officials believe its center is beneath the bedroom. From the outside, there are no cracks visible.
The Bush home in Brandon is located in Hillsborough County which has been dubbed 'Sinkhole Alley.'
Florida's environmental agency estimates that more than 500 sinkholes have been reported in the area since 1954.
Condemned: The home and other properties nearby have been evacuated in fear the hole could grow
Probe: Engineers work in front of a home as they try to determine the size of the sinkhole
Search: They believe the sinkhole could be 100ft wide and 50ft deep, but their investigations continue
Search: Officials arrived on the scene at 11.30 p.m. but have so far found no sign that the man is alive
Five adults and a two-year-old child were in the house at the time of the collapse, but no one else was injured.
Janell Wheeler told the Tampa Bay Times she was inside the house when the sinkhole opened.
'It sounded like a car hit my house,' she said, adding that there were screams as one of her nephews rushed to rescue his brother from the debris.
The rest of the family went to a hotel but she stayed behind with her dog and slept in her car.
'I just want my nephew,' she said through tears.
Officials evacuated neighbors living on either side of the home, which they say could be swallowed into the ground at any moment.
The Bush home has been condemned so the family will not be able to retrieve their belongings. To help the family, the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue has established a fund and is asking for donations.
'It's the only one we've seen that opened up in this manner there is no evidence of the structure cracking or anything like that on the outside of the house,' Dexter Barge with Hillsborough County's Code Enforcement told WFLA.
Anthony Randazzo, an expert in sinkholes, said he knows of only two people, who both lived in Florida, who have died because of a sinkhole in 40 years of his studies.
'Usually, you have some time,' Randazzo told USA Today. 'These catastrophic sinkholes give you some warning over the course of hours. This is very unusual and very tragic.'
Bizarre: An aerial view of the home shows no sign of the sinkhole which claimed the man's life
DANGER UNDERGROUND: WHY DO SINKHOLES OCCUR?
Watch out: Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania are the states most affected by sinkholes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey
A sinkhole is a hole that opens up suddenly in the ground. They mostly occur because of erosion or underground water that gathers naturally or due to man-made activities.
When this water dissolves the foundation beneath the surface layer, spaces and caverns develop underground. Limestone, carbonate rock, and salt beds are particular vulnerable to this erosion.
Meanwhile, the top layer of Earth usually stays intact. When the dissolving area beneath the surface becomes too large, the surface suddenly gives way.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania are the states most affected by sinkholes.
While they often occur from natural causes, sinkholes can be man-made and caused by human activity. Groundwater pumping and construction are the most likely culprits. They can also occur when water drainage systems are changed.
Police are still investigating what caused a 100-foot-wide sinkhole in Florida that killed a man when the ground disappeared beneath his house.
The fear of looming danger is real and present all over the globe, and pictures of the terrifying holes that appear seemingly unannounced and leave a trail of bodies and damage in their wake. Officially sink holes are caused by the dissolution of soluble bedrock and the frequency and likelihood of such changes occurring depends on a number of natural factors like the type of rock present and the weather conditions in the area.
Unexpected: Sinkholes are caused by the sudden dissolution of soluble materials underground causing holes without warning that can lead to obvious damage- like the case in this Hudson, Florida home last year
Terrifying: This particularly deep hole occurred in the middle of downtown Guatemala City in 2010 and the change in grown stability is thought to have been a result of tropical storm Agatha
Aftermath: Two Los Angeles city workers look over a sinkhole on Tujunga Avenue in the Sun Valley area of Los Angeles, caused by heavy rains in February 2005
The dangerous holes can range from three feet to 2,000 feet wide, appearing either to be just a pothole or effectively gobbling up multiple city blocks.
One of the hardest-hit areas, both lately and over the past few years has been Florida where much of the state is made up of more soluble foundations.
Dealing with disaster: A parking lot in Atlanta, Georgia was the scene of one such sinkhole in 1993
Fearless: These intrepid teenagers and neighbors were unafraid of the edge of the sinkhole in Duluth, Minnesota that came after a flash flood of 9-inches of rain the night before
When the experts are at a loss: This picture of a Los Angeles fire truck being pulled into a sinkhole shows that even emergency workers need help sometimes as four fire fighters were able to escape after the crash
Natural disaster: A large sinkhole at a former intersection in Richmond, Virginia after Hurricane Gaston hit the east coast in 2004
Scary: An elderly couple, who had lived in this home in Tarpon Springs, Florida since 1957, were with relatives when the ground suddenly opened up in their yard and a 50-foot-deep hole appeared in April 2011
In lucky cases, the sinkholes appear in unpopulated areas like golf courses, but the truly harrowing times come when the fatal accidents happen near- or even under- homes.
One such case is that of Jeff Bush, 37, who is presumed dead after he was swallowed into the 50-foot-deep hole and trapped beneath the rubble at his family's house in Brandon, near Tampa, Florida on Thursday night.
Key conditions: Florida is one of the most frequent sites of sink holes which is a reflection of the constant weather worries in the state- from tropical storms to hurricanes- and the soluble land underfoot
On the edge: A home in Lake City, Florida had a very close call in 2005 (left) and a car in Archer, Florida (right)fell victim to an unexpected 10-foot-deep sink hole the year before
Deep end: A Tennessee pool became the site of an sink hole and because it was off-season, no one was in the pool at the time that it happened
Flood damage: Heavy rains from the El Nino weather system in Feb 1998 caused this massive sinkhole in San Diego
We heard a loud crash,' the victim's brother Jeremy Bush told My Fox Tampa Bay as he broke down in tears. 'I ran in there and heard somebody screaming, my brother screaming, and I ran in there.
'And all I see is this big hole. All I see is the top of his bed. I didn't see anything else, so I jumped in the hole and tried getting him out.
"The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn't care. I wanted to save my brother. I could hear him screaming for me, hollering for me. I couldn't do nothing.'
Sudden impact: A Cadillac Escalade fell into a Milwaukee sinkhole in 2010 and though the driver was able to escape, the car was still running 20 hours after it first fell
Look at the size of that: A man stands next to a sinkhole in Oklahoma, which was thought to have been caused by excessive zinc mining that had been done in the area
A forest in the ground: This 2008 sinkhole in Daisetta, Texas was measured to be about the size of two football fields and go as far as 100 feet deep
Detour: Heavy rains in South Carolina in August 2005 washed away part of this sidewalk, leaving a deep sinkhole
Collapse: Construction crews work on repairing the pavement of a road in Chevy Chase, MD, after the road collapsed into a sinkhole
Officials in Pennsylvania’s state capital are dealing with an abysmal issue they can’t afford to fix: 41 massive sinkholes throughout the city as wide as 50 feet and as deep as a typical grave.
The mix of loose sandy soil and century-old leaking water pipes under Harrisburg's streets have made the area susceptible to such holes, city officials say.
But the city is too broke to replace many of the aging pipes and repave its roads as it deals with ongoing budget woes and the looming threat of bankruptcy, according to media reports.
Sinkhole dilemma: Crews work on a sinkhole on North Front Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Friday, January 4, 2013
The cause: The mix of loose sandy soil and century-old leaking water pipes underlying Harrisburg's streets have made the area susceptible to such holes, city officials say
The first of the recent sinkholes perforating Harrisburg was reported on New Year's Eve when a chasm measuring an estimated 50 feet long and eight feet deep swallowed a neighborhood block, damaging water and gas pipes and forcing more than a dozen residents to evacuate their homes, The Patriot-News reported last month.
That neighborhood happens to be one of Harrisburg’s poorest districts and the unexpected sinkhole added to the financial dilemmas hitting low-income residents living in a broke city.
‘I thought the world was ending,’ said one resident, Sherri Lewis, 42, who recently told the Wall Street Journal that she heard a rumbling on December 31 that sounded like fireworks.
Since that night, more holes have opened up throughout the 50,000-person city.
Another resident, Sharaun Davis, 33, told The Patriot-News in January that she had to move her family to a hotel because construction on the hole that formed on her block was causing her home to shake.
‘I'm hearing literally the dry wall cracking,’ she said. ‘We've had to change our whole life.’
Deep holes, shallow pockets: Harrisburg is too broke to replace many of the aging pipes and repave its roads as it deals with ongoing budget woes and the looming threat of bankruptcy
In addition to the rising number of sinkholes, the struggling city has been unable to fix a sewage treatment plant that has been dumping toxic waste into the Susquehanna River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
‘We can't do anything right now because no one will lend to us,’ William Cluck, chairman of the city agency that oversees the treatment facility, told the Journal.
Harrisburg, which is in default on its debt, is unable to tap into the municipal-debt market, which cities and states use to finance their infrastructure, including bridges, roads and tunnels.
After city officials rejected a state-sponsored financial recovery plan in July 2011, Harrisburg ‘was briefly transformed into the Greece of Pennsylvania,’ the New York Times wrote in an article published at the time.
The city’s financial woes stem in part from a failed plan to borrow $350 million to upgrade an enormous trash incinerator. That plan fell through in 2010 after the federal government blocked the effort due to the threat of toxic air pollution.
Stephen Reed, Harrisburg’s former Democrat mayor who ran the city for 28 years, brought it to near bankruptcy as the more than $500 million in bond deals he oversaw to finance development projects drained the city's coffers, according to Bloomberg.
It would cost nearly half of Harrisburg's $50 million budget to permanently fix the 41 sinkholes, one city engineer recently estimated.
Other issues: Harrisburg has also been unable to fix a sewage treatment plant that has been dumping toxic waste into the Susquehanna River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean
A couple in California awoke on Sunday to find that a huge sinkhole had swallowed the pond in their backyard.
Homeowner Mark Korb, who lives at the property with his wife, said that the hole had drained the pond behind his Newcastle home in just five hours. Previously it had taken seven days to empty the same volume of water.
A sinkhole is a hole that opens up suddenly in the ground. They mostly occur because of erosion, underground water that gathers naturally or due to man-made activities.
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Gone! Mark Korb shows a news reporter the sinkhole that swallowed the pond behind his home in Newcastle, California
Terror: The sinkhole, which the homeowner described as looking like it was 'on the moon'. Mr Korb told KCRA that the crater 'looks like the moon' on his rural property which is situated close to Dutch Ravine. Last month, a man died after a 20ft sinkhole opened beneath his family home in Florida. Jeff Bush, 37, was in his bedroom in Seffner on February 28 when the earth opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five others in the house escape unharmed. The effort to find Bush's body was called off after crews deemed the underground cavity too risky and made the difficult decision to fill up the hole. The family home was also demolished because of the danger.
Powerful: Mr Korb shows another pond at his rural property which previously took seven days to empty the same volume of water that the sinkhole achieved in five hours
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania are the states most affected by sinkholes.
While they often occur from natural causes, sinkholes can be man-made and caused by human activity.
Groundwater pumping and construction are the most likely culprits. They can also occur when water drainage systems are changed.