Missing Brooklyn Man Found Hiding Under Long Beach Boardwalk

 NEW YORK–The Coast Guard suspended its search for missing Brooklynite Neal Mello at 5:30 a.m. today after the man, who was reported missing after a nighttime swim Saturday, was found under the Long Beach boardwalk. He was apparently in good physical condition but hesitant to show himself to rescuers as he chose to swim without the benefit of a swimsuit.

A Long Beach Police Department rescue crew found the 37-year old Mello hiding underneath the boardwalk within a few hundred yards from Edwards Ave., where he reportedly went swimming at 9:30 p.m. The rescue crew took him back to shore to retrieve his clothing.

A companion on the beach reported Mello missing Saturday night to local authorities after he had not returned by 10 p.m.

The Long Beach Fire Department notified Coast Guard Station Jones Beach at 11:45 p.m. and the Coast Guard launched an immediate search with two station rescue boat crew. A Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City HH-65 Dolphin helicopter joined Nassau County Marine Police and Aviation units, and a Long Beach Marine Police crew during a search that extended along the Long Beach shoreline and up to five miles offshore.

Nassau County rescue vessels suspended the search for the night at 2:30 a.m. and made plans for a first-light search Sunday morning. The Coast Guard 41-foot rescue boat crew remained on scene searching throughout the night while the 25-foot rescue boat crew returned to base in preparation for first light searches. The Sunday morning air and water surface searches were called off once the man was recovered.

The sea state was reported at 3-5 foot swells, with winds of 10-15 knots and 10 miles visibility.

“Mr. Mello’s modesty may have been harmed, but he could have done himself worse by not swallowing his pride and showing himself to rescuers when he did,” said Lt. Douglas Miller, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound duty watch officer. “We’re hoping Mr. Mello learned from this experience. The Coast Guard urges people to always swim with a buddy during daylight, and only at professional lifeguard-protected beaches.”

Mello could be held personally liable with reimbursement to the government for the assets used that were fortunately not needed for other search and rescue operations that evening.

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