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Florida sinkhole survivor: Family 'going through hell'

March 04, 2013|By Matt Pearce

The Florida sinkhole has emerged into public view, the same as a family's suffering.

Officials continued their work Monday of demolishing a Hillsborough County, Fla., home that had been partially swallowed by a sinkhole on Thursday night, taking Jeff Bush, 37, with it.

Officials said they had to destroy the home to determine how big a threat the sinkhole poses to the neighborhood, and onlookers and cameras have gaped as an 80-foot-long excavation arm, by turns, knocked down walls and then delicately removed family memorabilia.

PHOTOS: Man swallowed by sinkhole under bedroom

On Monday, officials said they retrieved two rifles that have been in the family since the late 1800s and early 1900s.

But what remains out of reach is Bush's body, thought to be far underground, and possibly unrecoverable, officials have said.

"I want the media and everyone to know that my mom and dad are going through hell too," an emotional Jeremy Bush, 35, told reporters, according to ABC's local affiliate in Tampa Bay. "They lost a son. We never thought they'd have to go through something like this."

Bush, who had rushed to where his brother's bedroom used to be in an effort to rescue him, began to break down.

"My 2-year-old daughter keeps asking, 'Where's Jeff? Let's go get Jeff. Let's dig Jeff out of the hole. Mommy and Daddy, let's go home.' And I have no home to go to."

Cameras caught Bush's father sitting and weeping in front of the home.

"Let's try and get my brother out," Bush told reporters. "That's what I want."

Local firefighters have set up a relief fund to take donations for the family.

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