UPDATE: POLICE from Tweed Byron Local Area Command have issued a statement on behalf of the family of Stuart Butler, the man missing in surf at Byron Bay since the weekend.
"We'd like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you on behalf of Stuart's family both here and back in Ireland for the support we have received from the local community," a family spokesperson said.
"In particular, the local police in Byron Bay and Tweed Heads, the Queensland Police Helicopter, Surf Life Saving North Coast, Brunswick Volunteer Rescue Association and Australian Maritime Search Authority.
"We appreciate all of the efforts made to help find Stuart.
"We would also like to make special mention of Mojo Surf and to the Arts Factory for their continued support, and their efforts to make us comfortable, during this difficult time.
"We are full of hope that he will be returned to us and ask all to keep him in their thoughts and prayers."
ORIGINAL: THE search for missing Irish surfer Stuart Butler commenced at first light along the Byron coastline yesterday and will continue today police said.
"The man is listed as a missing person and we will continue to search for him," Sgt Jack Keough of Tweed/Byron Local Area Command said.
"However, this is now a body recovery operation."
Sgt Keough confirmed that foam surfboard fragments found on Monday by the Brunswick Volunteer Rescue Association during a search on the rocks at Cosy Corner belonged to one of the surviving surfers, 19-year-old Mike Fuller of England, who was with fellow traveller Levi Fahrenholtz and missing 20-year-old Stuart Butler when they were caught in treacherous conditions on Saturday.
Yesterday morning police, the Brunswick Valley volunteers and Byron Bay Marine Rescue continued beach and coastline patrols but found nothing, Sgt Keough said.
"We have been searching from Cosy Corner to Broken Head; Byron Bay to Brunswick Heads and from the North Wall at Brunswick Heads to Cudgen and Byron Marine Rescue have been maintaining an observation point from Cape Byron," he said.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service had also been notified to be on the look out for any sign of the missing surfer and his board, he said.
The man's brother in Ireland had been updated with the most recent search results, Sgt Keough said.
Conditions are too dangerous for the NSW Police Diving Unit at the moment, but Sgt Keough said the divers may arrive in the area on Thursday or Friday.
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