MADISON, Conn. (AP) _ A Special Olympics athlete who disappeared while swimming off an unguarded beach was still missing today.

Coast Guard boats searched through the night for Ramesh Mali, a 21-year-old soccer player from Nepal. He vanished about noon Thursday as he swam in chest-deep water.

``The longer it takes, the chances of reviving him grow slimmer,'' said Sgt. Dale Hourigan, a state police spokesman.

Divers resumed searching for Mali shortly after daybreak. As many as 35 divers assisted in the rescue effort Thursday. Earlier, scores of beachgoers had locked arms in long chains to systematically search the water.

Mali had gone on an outing to Hammonasset State Park with 11 other Nepalese athletes and four adults.

A volunteer host assigned to the team 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 the volunteer went back for Mali, he had disappeared.

More than 7,000 athletes, most of them mentally retarded, are in nearby New Haven for the Special Olympics World Games.