Surfer Matthew Bryce was found suffering from severe hypothermia and clinging to his surfboard after spending 32 hours drifting at sea. The 22-year-old surfer from the Glasgow, Scotland, area was rescued on Monday and immediately transported to Belfast Hospital in Ireland for treatment.
Matthew Bryce went missing while surfing on Sunday, but he wasn’t found until Monday. The surfer was not reported missing for more than 24 hours, making the job of locating him by first responders a lot more difficult. The video of the surfer’s rescue has now gone viral.
Bryce was ultimately reported missing by his family following a planned surfing trip along the Argyll coast in the western region of Scotland.
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) May 2, 2017
Matthew Bryce had gone surfing in the St. Catherines area. His family thought he had planned to head toward Westport Beach near Campbeltown. Westport Beach is located near Machrihanish Bay along the Argyll and Bute coastal region and is a popular spot for surfing.
The massive air and sea rescue efforts eventually succeeded in locating the missing surfer at around 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
The surfer rescue video shows a Belfast Coastguard Operations responder grabbing Matthew Bryce from his surfboard and lifting him into the helicopter. The thick neoprene wetsuit Bryce was wearing when he went surfing the day before greatly enhanced his chance of surviving the cold overnight temperatures, Sky News reports.
Belfast Coastguard spokeswoman Dawn Petrie told BBC News reporters that the hope of finding the missing surfer was fading fast as the hours dragged on. Petrie deemed Matthew Bryce to be an “extremely lucky” man. As darkness quickly approached, the first responders became gravely concerned the surfer, if still alive, would not be able to last another cold night out at sea.
— BBC Newsbeat (@BBCNewsbeat) May 2, 2017
“I cannot thank those enough who rescued and cared for me, they are all heroes,” Matthew Bryce said from inside his hospital room.
Belfast Coastguard Chief Inspector Paul Robertson deemed the amazing rescue a “real team effort.” Coastguard officials thanked everyone involved in locating the missing surfer. They urged other surfers to be prepared for the weather and water conditions to change rapidly. Surfers were also warned to tell others of their planned location and to take along an “appropriate means” of alerting others help is needed in case of emergency.
The rescued surfer’s parents were equally overjoyed with the successful efforts of the coastguard, the Daily Mail notes.
“He’s doing OK. He’s very tired but he’s fine apart from that,” said his mother, Isabella Bryce. “We’re very tired as well but mainly just relieved that he’s OK.”
Matthew’s father, John Bryce, said getting the news that his son was alive and on the way to the hospital was “better than a lottery win.” The elder Bryce went on to say the hours spent waiting to hear if his son had been spotted sparked an “absolute rollercoaster” of emotions for the entire family.
“To get that call from the police last night to say that he was alive was unbelievable, you just can’t describe it,” the grateful father continued. “Our family cannot thank the Coastguard, RNLI volunteers and police officers involved in finding Matthew enough.”
John Bryce described his surfer son as a young man who is strong not only in character but both mentally and physically as well.
Matthew Bryce is reportedly exhausted but responding well to hypothermia treatment and is in good spirits.
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