Two rescued, third person still missing off Cape Byron

UPDATE: 9.30am - THE search for a 19-year old Irish surfer missing off Cape Byron has resumed this morning.

Search resources have been bolstered overnight with a fixed-wing plane provided by Australian Search and Rescue and three helicopters now on the lookout for signs of the missing man.

UPDATE: 5:40pm  - THE search for an Irish surfer missing off Cape Byron has been suspended tonight.

Surf Life Saving Far North Coast Duty Officer Jimmy Keogh said two companions of the 19-year-old man, who entered the water at Tallow Beach to go surfing at about 10.35 am, had been rescued successfully but their friend remains missing.

The search for the missing men commenced quickly following a triple-0 call from the public.

Three jet skis from Byron Bay, Lennox Head and Brunswick Head surf club's joined the search, along with the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, which performed two missions over the search area.

The Ballina Jet Boat was then tasked to assist in the rescue

Dozens of onlookers packed the headland around Byron Bay lighthouse to get a glimpse of the search.

Mr Keogh said said dangerous surf conditions and fading light caused the search to be suspended.

"The search has been suspended for the evening after there was no sign of the missing person," he said.

"We will reassess conditions tomorrow and look at recommencing the search upon the request by police."

The 19-year-old surfer and two mates were taken around Cape Byron by a strong rip in the north corner of Tallow Beach.

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

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

The Queensland police POLAIR helicopter was also despatched to assist in the search yesterday afternoon.

Mr Keogh said the search was suspended at about 3.30pm.

Initial report 12.30pm:

Surf Life Saving members and Marine Rescue crews have been tasked to the rescue, but efforts are being hampered by the windy conditions, dangerous seas and cold water.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was also called, but has returned to its Lismore base to refuel.

Additional resources are on the way from the Gold Coast.

SLSNSW's Elton Cummings said the incident stared just before 11am.

"The three people were right off the front of the Cape; they were surfboard riding," he said.

"Patient one is on the beach and being treated by ambulance officers.

"Patient two has also been located, but is very distressed about the third person - apparently he was right behind him - but so far the search has failed to located this person.

"We are very concerned about this third person."

Mr Cummings said the rescue crews were setting up a command centre to coordinate the rescue.

He said the jet ski crews were finding it difficult to stay in the cold water for any length of time.

He also said the surf conditions were very dangerous, and the wind added to the difficulty of the rescue.

Surf Life Saving Far North Coast searches for a missing 19 year old surfer off Cape Byron.
Surf Life Saving Far North Coast searches for a missing 19 year old surfer off Cape Byron. Marc Stapelberg

Topics:  cape byron rescue surf life saving

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