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An unexpected stop for a garbage truck in St. Louis Tuesday morning.

A sinkhole opened under the alley between the 1400 Angelica Street and Newhouse Avenue and swallowed the truck. The garbage truck driver was not injured, but was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Nearby residents said they were not surprised the accident happened in North St. Louis.

 

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 15:17

Missouri hunter who died in sinkhole was a marine

BUCKHORN, Mo. (AP) - A south-central Missouri man who died after falling into a sinkhole was a Marine from Fort Leonard Wood who lived in a rural area near the fort.

Pulaski County authorities say 31-year-old Curtis Powelson died after he fell into the sinkhole Monday evening in the backyard of his home near Buckhorn. He was searching for a deer that he shot when he disappeared. Emergency personnel and neighbors spent hours looking for Powelson before discovering his body early Tuesday in the sinkhole, which was an estimated 70 feet deep.

Sheriff Ron Long told KSPR that the sinkhole was covered by foliage and debris, and some firefighters almost fell into it because it was so hard to see. Several people had to rappel into the sinkhole to recover Powelson's body.

 

Published in Local News
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 01:44

Sinkhole swallows golfer at Annbriar

A Creve Coeur man is nursing a dislocated shoulder, but still counts himself lucky after falling into a sinkhole at Annbrier Golf Course in Waterloo on Friday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 43 year old Mark Mihal had been standing on the 14th fairway when the ground swallowed him up. He landed in a bell-shaped hole, about 18-feet deep.

The course manager and Mihal's golfing companions used a ladder and some rope to pull him out.

Sinkholes are common in the St. Louis Metro area, but geologists say they are usually easy to spot because of a dent in the ground.
Published in Local News
SEFFNER, Fla. (AP) -- Crews with heavy equipment on Sunday began the demolition of a Florida home over a huge sinkhole where a man is presumed dead after being swallowed by the earth three days ago.

The search for Jeff Bush, 37, was called off Saturday, and a heavy machine with a large bucket scoop was moved into position Sunday on what was believed to be solid ground. 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.

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.

Bush was in his bedroom Thursday night in Seffner - a suburb of 8,000 people 15 miles east of downtown Tampa - when the ground opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five others in the house escape unharmed as the earth crumbled.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is conducting the investigation. Detective Larry McKinnon said that sheriff's office and the county medical examiner cannot declare Bush dead if his body is still missing. Under Florida law, Bush's family must petition a court to declare him deceased.

"Based on the circumstances, he's presumed dead, however the official death certificate can only be issued by a judge and the family has to petition the court," McKinnon said.
Published in National News
SEFFNER, Fla. (AP) -- Engineers worked gingerly to find out more about a slowly growing sinkhole that swallowed a Florida man in his bedroom, believing the entire house could eventually succumb to the unstable ground.

Jeff Bush, 37, was in his bedroom Thursday night when the earth opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five other people were in the house but managed to escape unharmed. Bush's brother jumped into the hole to try to help, but he had to be rescued himself by a sheriff's deputy.

Engineers were expected at the home to do more tests after sunrise Saturday. They spent the previous day on the property, taking soil samples and running various tests - while acknowledging that the entire lot was dangerous. No one was allowed in the home.

"I cannot tell you why it has not collapsed yet," Bill Bracken, the owner of an engineering company called to assess the sinkhole, said of the home. He described the earth below as a "very large, very fluid mass."

"This is not your typical sinkhole," said Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill. "This is a chasm. For that reason, we're being very deliberate."

Officials delicately addressed another sad reality: Bush was likely dead and the family wanted his body. Merrill, though, said they didn't want to jeopardize any more lives.

"They would like us to go in quickly and locate Mr. Bush," Merrill said.

Two adjacent houses were evacuated and officials were considering further evacuations. Even the media was moved from a lawn across the street to a safer area a few hundred feet away.

"This is a very complex situation," said Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers. "It's continuing to evolve and the ground is continuing to collapse."

Sinkholes are so common in Florida that state law requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger. While some cars, homes and other buildings have been devoured, it's extremely rare for them to swallow a person.

Florida is highly prone to sinkholes because there are caverns below ground of limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water.

"You can almost envision a piece of Swiss cheese," Taylor Yarkosky, a sinkhole expert from Brooksville, Fla., said while gesturing to the ground and the sky blue home where the earth opened in Seffner. "Any house in Florida could be in that same situation."

A sinkhole near Orlando grew to 400 feet across in 1981 and devoured five sports cars, most of two businesses, a three-bedroom house and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

More than 500 sinkholes have been reported in Hillsborough County alone since the government started keeping track in 1954, according to the state's environmental agency.

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 and brought Bush's brother running.

Jeremy Bush said he jumped into the hole but couldn't see his brother and had to be rescued himself by a sheriff's deputy who reached out and pulled him to safety as the ground crumbled around him.

"The floor was still giving in and the dirt was still going down, but I didn't care. I wanted to save my brother," Jeremy Bush said through tears Friday in a neighbor's yard. "But I just couldn't do nothing."

He added: "I could swear I heard him hollering my name to help him."

A dresser and the TV set had vanished down the hole, along with most of Bush's bed.

A sheriff's deputy who was the first to respond to a frantic 911 call said when he arrived, he saw Jeremy Bush.

Deputy Douglas Duvall said he reached down as if he was "sticking his hand into the floor" to help Jeremy Bush. Duvall said he didn't see anyone else in the hole.

As he pulled Bush out, "everything was sinking," Duvall said.

Engineers said they may have to demolish the small house, even though from the outside there appeared to be nothing wrong with the four-bedroom, concrete-wall structure, built in 1974.

Jeremy Bush said someone came out to the home a couple of months ago to check for sinkholes and other things, apparently for insurance purposes.

"He said there was nothing wrong with the house. Nothing. And a couple of months later, my brother dies. In a sinkhole," Bush said.
Published in National News

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