Man Chugs Rum, Nearly Drowns in Florida Sewer

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Associated Press Release

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- A South Florida man nearly drowned after jumping into a storm drain seeking a woman's dropped keys, fortified first by chugging a bottle of rum.

Miami Beach police say 49-year-old Richard Brandenberg told the woman Tuesday that he had experience working in sewer systems and was willing to go in and look for her keys. Witnesses say Brandenberg then drank a half-pint of rum and smoked a cigarette, telling them it was to keep warm in the cold water.

Police say Brandenberg went down twice, emerging each time to have another smoke. Finally on the third try he didn't come back up, and witnesses called 911.

Authorities found Brandenberg by popping a nearby manhole cover, then performed CPR to revive him. Brandenberg is recovering at a local hospital.

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