Belfast Telegraph

Exhausted but relieved: Surfer pulled from water after 30 hours thanks heroic rescuers

The surfer who survived more than 30 hours stranded at sea on his board has thanked those heroes who played a role in his rescue.

Matthew Bryce, 22, was reported missing by family when he failed to return from a surfing trip off the Argyll coast of Scotland on Sunday afternoon.

He had last been seen at around 9am on Sunday in the St Catherines area, believed to be heading to Westport Beach near Campbeltown. A large scale rescue effort found him adrift off the Argyll coast on Monday evening. He is being treated at the Ulster Hospital for hypothermia.

“I am so grateful that I am now receiving treatment in hospital," he said in a statement.

"I cannot thank those enough who rescued and cared for me, they are all heroes.... I am exhausted."

Read more: Watch: Dramatic moment surfer Matthew Bryce is rescued after 30 hours in Irish Sea

Police Scotland and the coastguard launched a large-scale search, with rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen involved.

The coastguard believe his knowledge and wetsuit saved his life. Conditions in the Irish Sea were also "fairly benign" throughout Monday.

Dawn Petrie, from the Belfast coastguard operations centre, said: "He'd been in the water for some 30 hours when the helicopter was delighted to spot him.

"He was extremely lucky."

Police thanked everyone who had been involved in the search.

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."

Alex Smith, from the coastguard, told BBC Radio Scotland: "His core body temperature was certainly very low but he is a very fit young man.

"It would've been quicker for us to find him if he had a personal locator beacon, a flare pack or a radio.

"I understand you don't want to be encumbered by too much equipment on a surfboard but even just having a shore contact who will raise the alarm if you fail to turn up.

"This gentleman was already 24 hours late when the alarm was raised."

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