Belfast Telegraph

Irish surfer lost off Australian coast won't be found alive, say police

By Colin Francis

Rescuers in Australia have given up hope of finding missing Irish surfer Stuart Butler alive.

The search off the coast of northern New South Wales has been updated to a body recovery operation.

Police divers are expected to arrive in the area later this week to join the search when the sea conditions improve.

The 20-year-old from Dublin got into difficulty while surfing off Cape Byron on Saturday.

Stuart was joined by friends Levi Fahrenholtz (25) from Seattle, USA, and Mike Fuller (19) from England in the nearby popular backpacker and tourist resort town of Byron Bay.

The three men went out surfing together before getting caught in a rip, which is a stretch of turbulent water, and thrown against rocks.

Mr Fuller succeeded in getting to the rocks, but Mr Fahrenholtz was swept out to sea, before being rescued.

The search began again in the early hours of yesterday morning, Australian police said, but added that it was now a "body recovery operation".

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