Naked swimmer found fine after overnight search

A naked Brooklynite who went for a late swim off Long Beach triggered a seven-hour hunt involving rescue boats and helicopters that ended when he was found unharmed - but perhaps a bit bashful - beneath a boardwalk, Coast Guard officials said.

Naked swimmer found fine after overnight search

A Long Beach Police Department rescue crew found 37-year-old Neal Mello yesterday, a few hundred yards from where his nude dunk began, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Annie Berlin.

"He was hesitant about coming out because he did not have any clothes on," she said.

Mello's bare-skinned misadventure began about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, when he left his clothes, phone and wallet beside a friend, who then fell asleep on the sand near Edwards Avenue, Berlin said.

There is, Berlin said, "a possibility that they consumed alcohol earlier in the day," but it's not clear what role it played in what happened next:

The friend, a woman authorities haven't named, awoke at 10 p.m. and found Mello still gone. She grew concerned. Taking all of Mello's belongings with her, the friend left the beach to alert authorities, Berlin said.

"We assumed he was in distress and that's why the search began," Berlin said.

A Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter, two Jones Beach station rescue boats - along with crews from the Nassau County Marine Police and aviation units - all scoured the 3- to 5-foot swells, vainly looking for the naked swimmer. The Coast Guard called off the search after rescuers finally spotted Mello at 5:30 a.m. yesterday.

Mello could not be reached for comment.

Whether he returned to shore only to find friend and garments gone, swam through the night, clung to a pier or slid under the boardwalk right away, only Mello knows, Berlin said, adding, "There's no way to tell how he spent his night."


AP

Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2007, 18:14
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