herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Weather halts search for Irish surfer in Australia

DANGEROUS weather conditions have hampered the search for an Irish teenager who got into difficulty surfing at Cape Byron in Australia.

The first day of a search effort for the 19-year-old, who has not been named, was called off as the light faded last night.

It was due to resume at around 6am local time, but a New South Wales police spokesperson told the Herald that it depended on the weather.

"The search was suspended in the afternoon and it is due to get underway at first light," she said.

"But it depends on the weather conditions. What we've been told is that there are extreme conditions tomorrow in terms of the wind and the water currents," she said.

The Irish man got into difficulty at around 10.30am on Saturday when he and two friends got caught in a rip current.

Two other men, aged 20 and 26, were rescued a short distance away and suffered minor injuries. Emergency services are yet to find any trace of the other man.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has been in contact with the man's family in Ireland.

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

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

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

Surf Life Saving members and Marine Rescue crews are leading the search, but efforts have been hampered by dangerous sea conditions.

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

hnews@herald.ie

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