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Effort to recover Fla. sinkhole victim's body called off

SEFFNER, Fla. -- The effort to find the body of a man who was swallowed by a sinkhole under his Florida home was called off Saturday and crews planned to begin demolishing the four-bedroom house.

The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole is almost completely covered by the house and rescuers feared it would collapse on them if they tried to search for Jeff Bush, 37. Crews were testing the unstable ground surrounding the home and evacuated two neighboring homes as a precaution.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said heavy equipment would be brought in to begin the demolition this morning. "At this point it's really not possible to recover the body," he said.

Jessica Damico, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, said the demolition equipment would be placed on what they believe is solid ground and reach onto the property to pull apart the house. The crew will try pulling part of the house away from the sinkhole intact so some heirlooms and mementos can be retrieved.

Bush was in his bedroom Thursday night when the earth opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five others escaped unharmed.

---- AP

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