It’s a tale as tragic as it is terrifying.

Jeffrey Bush, then 37 years old, went to sleep in his bedroom only for a sinkhole to suddenly open beneath him, swallowing him whole and taking his life.

His body was never recovered, lost to the murky depths of the ground in Seffner, Florida.

This tragedy occurred on February 28, 2013, and a decade later, the sinkhole that took Jeffrey’s life has reopened for a third time, conjuring painful memories for his grieving family.

Seffner, a small community near Tampa with less than 9,000 residents, had witnessed Jeffrey move into his brother Jeremy’s home just a month before the horrifying event. On that fateful night, a large crash echoed through the home around 11 p.m. followed by Jeffrey’s cries for help.

A 20 to 30-foot sinkhole had opened beneath his room, its gaping maw consuming the room and its sole occupant. Jeremy, recalling that evening, remembers the deafening sound, the gaping hole where his brother’s room once was, and his futile attempt to save his sibling from the unfathomable depth beneath him. His words “I couldn’t do nothing,” still echoes through the somber stillness that surrounds the incident.

Jeremy was eventually pulled out by an arriving deputy, but the sinkhole expanded thrice that night, with Jeffrey forever lost to its depth.

Despite the continued expansion and instability of the ground, Jeremy firmly believes that the rescue team could have done more to save his brother. His parents, too devastated to face the camera, silently endure their pain.

Florida is a hotspot for sinkholes due to its geological makeup of porous carbonate rocks like limestone, which stores and moves groundwater. The Seffner sinkhole was deemed a natural occurrence rather than being caused by human activities.

The sinkhole beneath Jeffrey’s room was terraced, reaching its greatest depth at approximately 30 feet and at its widest, it measured around 20 feet.

Post the incident, the house, and two neighboring ones were demolished for safety reasons. The terrifying pit was filled with a mixture of water and gravel, with the area cordoned off by double fencing.

Today, it resembles an inaccessible park with a poignant plaque honoring the life and tragic loss of Jeffrey Bush.

The killer sinkhole reappeared in 2015 and was refilled. Now, in July 2023, it has re-emerged, causing much anxiety to the grieving family and prompting authorities to once again secure the area.

The County Code Enforcement Department maintains that such reoccurrences are not uncommon and assures the surrounding homes are not in danger.

Sinkholes are more common than one might think, though most are relatively small, often showing up in places like parking lots and roadways. However, some, like the one that swallowed Jeffrey, are deadly.

Even more frightening are the ones that dwarf it, such as the 400-foot-wide sinkhole in Orlando in 1981, which consumed two businesses, a three-bedroom home, five cars, and part of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Experts theorize that Jeffrey’s body was sucked into the water table beneath the surface, potentially to one day emerge in the nearby Alafia River.

Alternatively, he could be trapped in a sediment-filled void between the sinkhole and bedrock, perhaps never to be recovered. These possibilities, while shedding some light on the mystery of Jeffrey’s final resting place, provide little comfort to his bereaved family.


For Jeremy, the reemergence of the sinkhole is a harrowing reminder of the trauma he endured that night. His heart aches with the memories of his brother’s cries, the futile digging, and the eventual realization that his brother was beyond reach.

For him, the site of the sinkhole isn’t just the place where his brother’s life was tragically ended – it is also his last known resting place.

Jeremy’s words, “It’s hard seeing the hole back open again,” underscore the haunting reality of such natural disasters. It’s a potent reminder of the earth’s unpredictability, its potential for sudden, terrifying transformation, and the human lives affected by such events.

As this story continues to unfold, we are reminded once again of the delicate balance that exists between human life and the powerful, sometimes devastating, forces of Mother Nature.

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