News

Helicopter sighting proves to be false alarm

Rescue workers continue to search for Irish surfer Stuart Butler who disappeared when a surf with his mates at Cozy Corner, on the southern edge of Cape Byron, went tragically wrong in high seas on Saturday.

Rescue volunteers search on foot after blood was sighted on rocks at Cozy Corner, at the southern edge of Cape Byron. PHOTO: Megan Kinninment
Rescue volunteers search on foot after blood was sighted on rocks at Cozy Corner, at the southern edge of Cape Byron. PHOTO: Megan Kinninment

UPDATE 1.15pm: RESCUE crews searching for missing surfer Stuart Butler took to land this morning after the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter spotted what appeared to be blood on the rocks at Cozy Corner.

Five members of the Brunswick Valley Rescue group and a police officer went in on foot to inspect the discovery but reported finding nothing more than the blood, which appeared to have come from a fish someone had caught and scaled at the scene.

The helicopter and two jet skis continued to search around the Cape until 11am today.

Police Inspector Bobbie Cullen said officials were keeping Mr Butler's family in Australia updated on the search and they were relaying news to the family in Ireland. 

Far North Coast surf lifesaving searches for a missing surfer off the coast of Byron Bay near the Byron Bay Lighthouse after three surfers got into trouble, one remaining unaccounted for.
Far North Coast surf lifesaving searches for a missing surfer off the coast of Byron Bay near the Byron Bay Lighthouse after three surfers got into trouble, one remaining unaccounted for. Marc Stapelberg

6.41am: AFTER an intensive two-day search in heavy seas and strong winds, the fate of missing Irish-born surfer Stuart Butler remains unknown.

The search will resume at 7.30am today, but police now believe it has become a recovery operation.

A huge amount of resources from multiple rescue agencies were thrown into the search effort yesterday.

Police believed the missing 20-year-old may have either been caught on rocks or otherwise swept northwards as far as Brunswick Heads.

Three jetskis and a jet boat tasked from Surf Life Saving NSW roamed as heavy waves of up to three metres broke in front of the cliffs where the man was last seen.

But the jetskis were unable to safely get close enough to properly search the cliffs, and were called off at about 11.30am.

Several aircraft were also tasked to assist, including an Australian Search and Rescue fixed-wing plane with heat-sensitive scanners, which ran a sweep of the entire area north of Cape Byron to Brunswick Heads and three helicopters.

About 11am a team from the Brunswick Volunteer Rescue Squad staged the first of three vertical rescue drops off the Cape in an effort to find any evidence of the missing man or his surfboard. But all search efforts were officially called off by 1pm as weather conditions worsened.

"Police at this point ... are probably looking at more of a recovery due to the weather conditions and the swell," Tweed-Byron Local Area Command Inspector Bobbie Cullen said.

"But we're doing everything we can."

Inspector Cullen said an underwater search at the base of the cliffs by police divers would not be possible until at least Wednesday, when the dangerous conditions were expected to ease.

She noted that conditions at the base of the cliff were as cold as two degrees overnight and Mr Butler had not been wearing a wetsuit.

Meanwhile, distressed relatives of the missing surfer were left facing an agonising wait for news after the search was abandoned for yet another day.

After arriving on a plane from Melbourne, the relatives were briefed by lead detectives coordinating the search.

Topics:  cape byron drowning editors picks surfing



Ballina 'uninhabitable' in latest sea level rise scenario

INUNDATION THREAT: Areas in dark blue show the impact of a 0.74m seal level rise, while areas in light blue show a 2m rise.

Ballina, Byron Bay and more coastal towns to go underwater

Bring the Ski Jump to Lismore, says MP

CONTROVERSIAL: A digital image of the proposed Lake Ainsworth Olympic ski jump facility provided by the NSW Office of Sport.

Page MP and Lismore mayor would welcome the Ski Jump in Lismore.

Climbing for Lismore flood fundraiser

The 2017 Lismore Flood

SCU student to climb Mont Blanc for Lismore.

Local Partners

Bring the Ski Jump to Lismore, says MP

PAGE MP and Lismore mayor say if Lennox Head doesn't want the proposed Ski Jump, then bring it to Lismore.


First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Stories Troy Cassar-Daley carries around

LEGEND: Troy Cassar-Daley after receiving the Golden Guitar Award for Album of the Year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

You can see him in Ballina this weekend

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

TWENTY-TWO people have been killed and at least 59 people have been injured following a terror attack in Manchester

Nattali Rize at the top of the charts

ARTIST: Australian reggae artist Nattali Rize has Native American and Samoan roots and lives between Byron Bay, Cairns and Jamaica.

Her debut album hit the top at the Global Reggae Charts

Casual Keanu says fame is ‘cool’

Keanu Reeves in a scene from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

NOBODY expected much of John Wick when it was released in 2014.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Seven Year Switch: The boner to end all boners

Johnny’s outraged over claims he has a cracked boner.

She gulps. Her face says it all.

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!