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Special Olympian from Nepal Missing

July 7, 1995

MADISON, Conn. (AP) _ A Special Olympics athlete from Nepal disappeared Thursday while swimming in an unguarded section of beach, prompting a massive search by boats, helicopters, divers and scores of volunteers.

Ramesh Mali, a 21-year-old soccer player, was last seen in chest-deep water in Long Island Sound shortly after noon, authorities said.

``A woman on the beach and some Special Olympic athletes were out there swimming and said they saw a person go down and didn’t come up,″ said Todd Rainey, director of beach operations.

Divers and other rescuers were searching an area of several hundred yards off the shore of Hammonasset State Park. Plans were under way to drag the ocean bottom.

Scores of beachgoers locked arms in long chains to search the water as a Coast Guard cutter, two helicopters and five boats hovered nearby.

The Special Olympics World Games has brought over 7,000 athletes from around the world to compete in athletic events this week in the New Haven area. Madison is about 16 miles east of New Haven.

Mali was on a private outing with 11 other Nepalese athletes and four adults, including a volunteer host assigned to the team, said Sgt. Dale Hourigan, a state police spokesman.

The unidentified volunteer was in the water with three athletes including Mali when he took two of them out because there was a drop-off and he thought they were getting nervous, authorities said. When he went back to get Mali, the volunteer could not find him.

Update hourly