Man, 21, Goes Missing While Swimming in East River

Authorities are searching for a 21-year-old man who went missing in the East River after going swimming early Thursday with some friends.

The man, Steven Middleton, was with three buddies out celebrating a birthday, relatives said.

Police say he climbed down a ladder from a pier at North First Street, just north of the Williamsburg Bridge on the Brooklyn side at about 5 a.m., and was immediately caught in the fast-moving current.

His friends ran for help but there has been no sign of him since.

Dozens of Middleton's friends and family members lined up near where he swept away by the current Thursday, hoping for a sign that he was OK.

"Just holding out hope, since he is a good swimmer, but who knows?" said his aunt, Kathleen Green.

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