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Man who nearly drowned in Miami Beach storm drain had a smoke and a bottle of rum before diving in for keys

The man who nearly drowned in a Miami Beach storm drain had smoked a few cigarettes and chugged half a pint of white rum before diving into the deep hole to look for a woman’s dropped keys.

The details are in a police report on the incident, which happened Tuesday afternoon. According to the report:

Madgiana Holverson, 47, dropped her keys into the drain at 74th Street and Ocean Terrace. A locksmith was late in coming to help her because of bad weather.

Richard Brandenburg, 49, walked up to her and told her that he had once worked on sewage systems, and he’d be willing to dive in after them — after he had a drink and a smoke.

Brandenburg told Holverson that he did this to warm himself up, because the water in the storm drain was cold.

Then Brandenburg then took off a grate covering and jumped into the storm drain. He came back out twice, each time smoking another cigarette. The third time Brandenburg jumped in, he didn’t resurface. Holverson peered into the hole and saw bubbles.

Another man on the scene, William Dudley, lowered his legs into the drain to look for the man. Holverson tossed a dog leash. The man remained submerged.

Then Miami Beach Fire Rescue arrived, removed a nearby manhole cover, and found the man. Firefighters pulled him out and started CPR.

Brandenburg was in cardiac arrest. He is recovering at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

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