As of Friday, March 1, 2013
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TAMPA — A Florida man was missing on Friday after a sinkhole suddenly opened up beneath the bedroom of his suburban Tampa home, police and fire officials said.
Rescuers responded to a 911 call late on Thursday after the man's family reported hearing a loud crash in the house and rushed to his bedroom.
"All they could see was a part of a mattress sticking out of the hole," said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Ron Rogers. "Essentially the floor of that room had opened up."
A sheriff deputy who arrived at the scene rescued a brother who had jumped in and tried to rescue the man. Four other adults and a child were in the house at the time the sinkhole opened up.
"I didn't see any part of him when I went in there," the brother told a local Tampa TV station on Friday. "I told my father-in-law to grab a shovel so I could start digging. Then the cops showed up and pulled me out of the hole and told me the floor was still falling in."
Authorities have not been able to contact the missing man in the sinkhole, which officials believe to be about 100 feet (30.5 meters) across. Sinkholes occur when the ground drops downward after underlying material below, like limestone, dissolves.
Rogers said officials had lowered listening devices and cameras into the hole but had so far not detected any signs of life.