A Coastguard helicopter rescued a surfer from the sea last night after more than 30 hours in the water.
Belfast Coastguard coordinated the search for missing surfer Matthew Bryce, 22, who left to go surfing from Machrihanish beach near Campbeltown, Argyll on Sunday at 9am and didn’t return.
A large area of sea and shore line had been searched since lunch time on Monday when the alarm was raised, involving RNLI lifeboats from Campbeltown, Islay and Red Bay and Coastguard rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen as well as the Coastguard Rescue helicopter based at Prestwick.
Dawn Petrie at Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre, who was coordinating the search, said: “Hope was fading of finding the surfer safe and well after such a long period in the water and with nightfall approaching we were gravely concerned but at 7.30pm, the crew on the coastguard rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surf board and 13 miles off the coast.
“He was kitted out with all the right clothing including a thick neoprene suit and this must have helped him to survive for so long at sea.
“He is hypothermic but conscious and has been flown to hospital in Belfast”.
Chief Inspector Paul Robertson said: “The response to our appeal to find Matthew has been outstanding.
“It has been a real team effort and I would like to thank everyone who offered their assistance.”