Man's jump in flood water described as 'ego thing'

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - With children and other onlookers holding umbrellas, Sylvester Kitchens stood in the flooded street, laughing and bragging he could swim an overflowing Chattanooga storm ditch outside their house.

Wearing shorts and shirtless, the 46-year-old Kitchens dared onlookers to bet him $5 he couldn't do it. Even when nobody showed any money, Kitchens jumped in.

After bobbing along in the gushing water Sunday afternoon and grabbing a chain link fence above the ditch, Kitchens lost his grip and washed away into an underground culvert.

Two days later, Chattanooga fire officials are still searching for him.

Kitchens' nephew, 22-year-old Leslie Townsend, said he is heartbroken but doesn't want others to follow his uncle's playful example around dangerous water.

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