Aussies Tap Sunken Mother Lode

Seen me snorkel, mate?

After a delivery truck carrying 24,000 bottles of beer plunged into a river, there was no shortage of volunteers to help salvage the cargo.

People carried beer out of the Tweed River north of Sydney throughout the Easter holiday weekend, police said Monday. Some donned scuba gear, while others dove straight in. One man reportedly claimed 400 bottles.

The delivery truck lost a wheel and crashed into the river April 10. The truck was salvaged, but half its contents remained in the river.

Police inspector Stan Single said local residents thought it was open season had spent the Easter long weekend diving for the beer - some fully clad in scuba gear. There were no guards posted at the site.

Although police considered it a theft, Single said, "I doubt whether in these circumstances we'll be chasing people for convictions."

"They obviously thought the owners had abandoned the load and they better get the rest," Single added, noting that removal of the beer officially amounted to theft.

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