Authorities release name of man who drowned Sunday in Alafia River

Michael Keith Berra, 32, drowned Sunday in the Alafia River, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The Hillsborough Medical Examiner concluded his death was accidental. [Facebook]
Michael Keith Berra, 32, drowned Sunday in the Alafia River, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The Hillsborough Medical Examiner concluded his death was accidental. [Facebook]
Published July 11 2018
Updated July 11 2018

RIVERVIEW — Authorities have released the name of a man who drowned Sunday in the Alafia River.

The body of Michael Keith Berra, 32, was recovered from the bottom of the river shortly after 7 p.m., according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the 8700 block of Barcin Circle at 5:52 p.m. after receiving a 911 call from someone reporting a person in the middle of the river was going under water. The Sheriff’s Office dive team responded and one of the divers found Berra’s body.

The Hillsborough Medical Examiner ruled his death an accidental drowning.

According to an investigative summary report released by the Medical Examiner, witnesses saw Berra in the middle of the river waving his arms and calling for help before slipping under the surface. Divers found his body in the same area. They estimated the depth of the river there to be four to five feet, with a soft bottom.

Berra did not have a known address at the time of his death, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The medical examiner report listed him as a homeless laborer who worked in residential construction. His mother lives in Riverview about five miles east of where Berra drowned, the report shows.

According to two Facebook accounts, Berra attended East Bay High School in Gibsonton.

Contact Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

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