A huge sinkhole that swallowed a boat and destroyed two homes in Florida on Friday (14 July) hasn't expanded for at least 17 hours, officials said.

Pasco County assistant administrator for public safety Kevin Guthrie said that there has been no further significant movement in the county's largest sinkhole in three decades.

The sinkhole is 250 feet (76 metres) wide and 50 feet (15 metres) deep. Around 11 homes had been affected, including the two that were destroyed, Guthrie added.

Guthrie said that no injuries had been reported and that the homeowners who were affected had insurance.

No one was home when officials responded to a call about a "depression" under a boat in the backyard of a house in Lake Padgett Estates in Land O'Lakes, Pasco County fire chief Shawn Whited told reporters on Friday.

Within minutes, "the hole opened up" and the boat fell in, he added.

Firefighters managed to get two dogs out and tried to retrieve some belongings before the first home started to collapse into the expanding sinkhole.

State geologists said that they would continue to monitor the sinkhole over the weekend, before determining when the clean-up can begin. The state's Department of Environmental Protection has requested that the county and homeowners wait a few more days before doing any recovery work.

Guthrie said that chemicals from at least three septic tanks are in the sinkhole because of which the area is being considered as hazardous.

According to county records, there was a previous sinkhole incident at the property where the first house was swallowed up. The area was stabilised in 2014, with the home eventually sold in 2015.


Pasco has a history of sinkholes. The Sheriff's Office said that the incident on Friday is likely the largest the county has had in a while.

Areas around Tampa and much of Florida are known for their porous limestone underground that can collapse unexpectedly, creating sinkholes.

Sinkholes are generally stabilised by boring holes into the ground and injecting concrete.