For the second time this year a surfer has had to be rescued after drifting several miles out to sea.
Matthew Bryce, 22, from Glasgow set off to go surfing at Machrihanish beach on the Argyll coast around 9 AM on Sunday. After he did not return, the alarm was raised and the coastguard was dispatched for a thorough search which continued throughout the day on Monday. Mr Bryce was eventually spotted and rescued by the Belfast Coastguard at 19:30 on Monday, floating 13 miles from the Scottish coast. The coastguard reported that he had been in the water since 11:30 on Sunday.
A Coastguard spokeswoman said that Mr Bryce was hypothermic (the water temp was around 9 degrees), but still conscious, when he was found, and had been taken to hospital in Belfast. His condition has since been described as stable.
“He was extremely lucky.” said Dawn Petrie, from the coastguard.
“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 7.30pm tonight, the crew on the coastguard rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surf board 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.”
The extensive search involved RNLI lifeboats from Campbeltown, Islay and Red Bay as well as Coastguard rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen and the Coastguard rescue helicopter based at Prestwick.
Cover photo: Brendan Campbell / Flickr