FOX 13-TV reported a sinkhole estimated to be up to 30 feet wide and 20 feet deep opened under the bedroom of a home about 15 miles east of Tampa, in the town of Seffner around 11 p.m. EST Thursday.
Officials said the center of the sinkhole was under a bedroom where Jeffrey Bush, 37, was located at the time. Four other adults, a child and two dogs inside the home were able to escape.
Right after the ground started to give way, the victim's brother, Jeremy Bush, frantically tried to keep Jeffrey from sinking into the hole but he fell out of reach, an emergency official said.
The first deputy on the scene had to pull Jeremy from the edge of the growing sinkhole, said Jessica Damico, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.
"I couldn't do anything," Jeremy said in front of the house where his brother was still buried. "Everything in the room was gone," he added.
Engineers condemned the home immediately and said it was unsafe for rescuers to conduct any type of search as the sinkhole continued to grow into early Friday morning. Nearby homes were also evacuated.
Rescuers tried to send a camera and listening device into the hole, but it was swallowed up. Other devices lowered into the hole have detected no signs of life.
Work crews plan to demolish part of the home before digging and recovering the body.
Sinkholes are a common feature of Florida's landscape. They are only one of many kinds of karst landforms, which include caves, disappearing streams, springs and underground drainage systems, all of which occur in the state.