The Trentonian's Strange But True Page

Monday, August 13, 2007

Naked swimmer sparks Coast Guard search

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (AP) - A naked man who went swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in the dark of night and didn't return was found unharmed Sunday morning after a U.S. Coast Guard search.
Neal Mello stripped off his clothes and went in the water around 9:20 p.m. Saturday, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Annie Berlin said. When he was still gone at 10 p.m., a friend or relative called for help.
Mello, 37, was found hiding under a pier not far from where he jumped in the water, Berlin said. It wasn't immediately clear why he hadn't gone back to shore.
His clothes, wallet and cell phone were found on the beach in Long Beach, a city that boasts an expanse of oceanfront within 30 miles of Manhattan.
The search for Mello, of Brooklyn, had extended about 5 miles offshore.
Regardless of water conditions, nighttime swimming is risky, Coast Guard duty watch officer Mark Averill warned.
"The darkness," Averill said, "can disorientate even the most practiced swimmers."


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