An “extremely lucky” surfer has been found by a coastguard helicopter after 32 hours in the Irish sea.
Matthew Bryce, from Scotland, was rescued by Belfast coastguards 13 miles out from the Scottish coastline at the weekend.
The 22-year-old surfer had not been seen since he set off to go surfing off the Argyll coast at 09:00 am on Sunday. Belfast Coastguard said he had been in the water since 11:30 am on Sunday and was found at 7:30 pm on Monday between Scotland and Rathlin Island, off the north Antrim coast.
A spokeswoman said Bryce, who was wearing a wetsuit, was hypothermic and had been taken to hospital in Belfast. News sources are now reporting that he is in a stable condition.
The Coastguard Agency uploaded footage of the rescue to their Youtube channel:
Dawn Petrie, from the coastguard, said:
He was extremely lucky.
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 7:30 pm tonight, the crew on the coastguard rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surfboard 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.
He did the right thing by staying with his surfboard and that certainly aided his survival.
How the coastguard rescue unfolded
Information about the rescue is detailed in the Coastguard Agency video:
Belfast Coastguard coordinated the search for the young surfer who left to go surfing from Machrihanish beach near Campbeltown. Bryce had last been seen in the St Catherines area of Argyll.
A large area of sea and shoreline was combed after the alarm was raised at lunchtime on Monday.
It involved 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.
Wishing Matt a speedy recovery.