Monthly Archives: March 2013

Recent Seffner Sinkhole Just a Reminder

You have a better chance of winning the lottery than dying in a sinkhole, and in fact, worldwide over the last 50 years only about 40 lives were taken by them. The casualty list grew slightly on Thursday, when a Seffner, Florida man was in his bedroom and the floor collapsed, consuming him.

A relative tried to save him, but was unsuccessful.

As reported in the Tampa Bay Times newspaper, Jefferey Bush, 37, was last heard yelling for help after his brother claimed to hear a loud crash, as if a car had hit the home. Officials were having a difficult time locating Bush due to the instability sinkholes are known for.

Family and friends have not given up hope, as rescuers have not classified the man as dead. But as time goes by in slow motion for them, it’s becoming clear that Jefferey may have arrived at his final resting place, somewhere under the home, and possibly deep under ground.

He may never be recovered.

Sinkholes occur all over the world, and are a common occurence in Florida. The state, which sits atop the Floridan Aquifer, is dotted with these holes all over. While casualties are rare, property damage has always been a huge concern.

I recall vividly the Winter Park sinkhole in 1981. A native of neighboring Orlando, I was merely 12 years old. But the media frenzy engraved the images in my mind to this day. A Porshe dealership, along with a large home and other property, were forever lost in the sandy abyss.

wp sinkhole

Winter Park Sinkhole

Sinkholes come in many sizes both in depth and width. Formation doesn’t begin on the top, it begins well below the surface. Limestone is dissolved over many years from seaping rainwater, forming caves under the softer crust. Sometimes, these areas of dissolved limestone give way to the weight above, collapsing.

sinkhole diagram

Depiction below the surface

There’s really not much we can do about sinkholes, but there are ways of possibly avoiding them. According to relatives of Jefferey Bush, the home was recently checked for the possibility of sinkholes, a normal procedure when insuring a home in Florida. There’s no certainty how reliable some of these tests can be, but apparently something was either missed or the sinkhole formed quickly thereafter in the Seffner case.

Condolences to the family and friends of Jefferey, who still harbor hope that he will be found in good health.