Belfast Coastguard rescues surfer Matthew Bryce lost in Irish sea for 30 hours
A surfer was rescued by the Belfast Coastguard yesterday after being swept 13 miles out from the Scottish coast and surviving in the Irish Sea for more than 30 hours.
Rescue teams said they were growing "gravely concerned" for Matthew Bryce before finding him at 7.30pm halfway between Scotland and Rathlin Island.
The surfer was hypothermic but conscious. The 22-year-old, from Glasgow, had last been seen on Sunday at around 9am in the St Catherine's area of Argyll before he left for Machrihanish beach near Campbeltown to go surfing.
The alarm was raised on Monday afternoon when he failed to return to shore, with rescue teams quickly combing large areas in their search for the missing man.
The search party was coordinated by Belfast Coastguard with rescue teams dispatched from Campbeltown and Southend. A coastguard rescue helicopter based in Prestwick was also used.
Dawn Petrie, at Belfast Coastguard operations centre, headed the operation.
"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," she said.
"At 7.30pm, the crew on the rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surfboard and 13 miles off the coast."
She added Mr Bryce was "kitted out with all the right clothing" which included a thick neoprene suit.
"This must have helped him to survive for so long at sea," she explained.
The surfer was flown for treatment in hospital at Belfast.
In a separate incident yesterday, a hillwalker in the Mourne Mountains was airlifted to hospital after suffering a serious fall.
A spokesperson from the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team said the man was found at the base of an area known as the water slabs in Annalong valley.
"The casualty was assessed and treated for multiple injuries including to the head, neck and chest," they added.
An Irish Coastguard rescue helicopter was dispatched from Dublin, with the casualty airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
In total, 18 mountain rescue workers responded, along with an hazardous area response team paramedic, ambulance crew and the rescue helicopter team.
The team was stood down at 9.05pm.