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Surfer who drifted on board for 30 hours hails hero rescuers

Matthew Bryce being treated for hypothermia.

A surfer who survived more than 30 hours stranded at sea on his board has hailed his rescuers as heroes.

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

The 22-year-old was eventually found by a search and rescue helicopter at around 7.30pm on Monday, drifting in the Irish Sea 13 miles (21km) from land.

The Glaswegian was flown to Belfast, where he is currently recovering from hypothermia.

“I am so grateful that I am now receiving treatment in hospital,” said Mr Bryce.

“I cannot thank those enough who rescued and cared for me, they are all heroes.”

The surfer had last been seen at around 9am on Sunday in the St Catherines area of Argyll, believed to be heading to Westport Beach near Campbeltown.

Police Scotland and the Coastguard launched a large-scale search, with rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen involved, as well as colleagues on the other side of the Irish Sea.

John Bryce, Matthew’s father, also expressed his gratitude.

“The past 48 hours have been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions for our family and we are so grateful that Matthew has been found safe and well,” he said.

“To get that call from the police last night to say that he was alive was unbelievable. It was better than a lottery win – you just can’t describe it.

“Matthew means the world to us; he is such a strong character both mentally and physically, and we are looking forward to being reunited with him.

“We’ve managed to speak to him briefly on the phone and he is obviously exhausted after his ordeal, but he is in good spirits and happy to be alive.

“Our family cannot thank the Coastguard, RNLI volunteers and police officers involved in finding Matthew enough.

“I would also like to thank our friends and family as well as the hundreds of people who offered their support on social media. We have been overwhelmed by your support and good wishes and we will be forever grateful to every single one of you.”

The Coastguard believe Mr Bryce’s surfing knowledge and wetsuit saved his life.

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