Monday 18 December 2017

Search to resume for missing surfer Stuart in Australia

Fears are growing in the search for missing Dubliner, Stuart Butler (20) in Australia.

The search for surfer Stuart, from Santry, was due to resume at first light local time today.

However, a spokeswoman for the police in Australia told the Herald that "there are really big swells happening up and down the coast which is hindering the search".

Stuart got into difficulty while surfing at Cape Byron on Saturday.

Speaking last night outside the family home, a relative said: "Nothing has changed, we have no new information."

Two other men, aged 20 and 26, were rescued a short distance away after suffering minor injuries.

The police spokeswoman also said that many groups had come together to search for Stuart, but that it was understood the operation "would be scaled down" today.

A situation report was issued to all those involved in the search party at 7am this morning (10pm Irish time last night).

Byron Bay is nine hours ahead of Dublin.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has been in contact with the family here.

Stuart, who turned 20 in May, was surfing when he got into difficulty at around 10.30am on Saturday when he and two friends got caught in a rip current.


Dangerous weather conditions have been hampering the search operation.

Yesterday morning an officer in Byron Bay police station, Mark Waspe, said: "There was no success today.

"The search will recommence at daylight. It's concentrated mainly on the coastline but we have severe swells so it's very challenging at the moment.

"They've had jet skis, boats and two helicopters out looking since the day of the incident.

Surf Life Saving Far North Coast branch duty officer Jimmy Keogh told local newspaper, The Northern Star, about the initial search.

"Lifesavers from Byron Bay surf club, who were on a jet ski, located the first male coming ashore at Wategos," he said.

"A second man was located along the cliff face around Cape Byron, he was clinging to some rocks."

Surf Life Saving members and Marine Rescue crews are leading the search.

A warning about hazardous surf conditions along the entire New South Wales coast was issued on Saturday.


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