updated 8/13/2007 3:12:35 AM ET 2007-08-13T07:12:35

A man who decided to go for a late night swim in the buff was found hours later by rescue crews, hiding under a pier not far from where he jumped in the water, authorities said Sunday.

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Neal Mello, 37, of Brooklyn, was found around 5:30 a.m., and appeared to be in good physical condition but was "without the benefit of a swimsuit," the Coast Guard said in a release.

"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," Lt. Douglas Miller said.

Mello had stripped off his clothes and went in the water around 9:20 p.m. Saturday, the Coast Guard said. When he was still gone at 10 p.m., a friend called for help, and rescuers were dispatched.

The search extended about 5 miles offshore and involved boats and a helicopter.

Mello's clothes, wallet and cell phone were found on the shore near where he entered the water in Long Beach, a city that boasts an expanse of oceanfront within 30 miles of Manhattan.

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