US man 'swallowed' alive by sink hole

A US man lying in his bed was swallowed up by a gaping sink hole that opened up under his room in a Florida town, officials said Friday.

The yawning chasm opened up overnight as Jeff Bush, 36, slept in his bedroom sucking him into the hole at the home, where several other family members escaped uninjured.

"I heard a loud crash like a car coming through the house and I heard my brother screaming," said Jeremy Bush, who said through tears that he tried in vain to rescue his brother.

"All I seen was this big hole, real big hole and all I seen was his mattress," said Bush, who recounted how he jumped into the hole and started digging frantically.

"I couldn't find him. I thought I could hear him holler for me to help him," Bush said. He added: "I know in my heart, he's dead."

Authorities called to the scene found a hole of about 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter.

Hillsborough County Fire Department chief Brian Rogers said rescue officials were able to pull Jeremy Bush out of the hole, and later lowered ultra sensitive listening devices and cameras into the crater in search of any sign of his brother.

The devices are "designed to hear essentially the sound a mouse would make walking across the floor. They are that sensitive," Rogers said. No sign of life was detected.

A local fire official that Jeff Bush is unlikely to have survived the disaster, which occurred the town of Brandon, a suburb of Tampa.

As rescue teams worked, the earth underneath the structure continued to collapse, and authorities evacuated nearby houses, Rogers told a news conference.