Surfer rescued after 32 hours at sea had prepared himself to die

Matthew Bryce was found clinging to his board after being swept 26 kilometres from Scotland into the Irish SeaA surfer who was rescued after 32 hours adrift at sea said he had prepared himself to die.
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Matthew Bryce was found clinging to his board after being swept 26 kilometres from Scotland into the Irish Sea near the Northern Island border.

He described the moment he was spotted by a helicopter as “the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.”

“The wind and water was just relentless,” he told the BBC from his hospital bed.

“It got to the point where my paddling was ineffective, but I was doing it to keep myself warm.”

A highly emotional Bryce who is being treated for hypothermia said: “I knew I had maybe three hours and I was pretty certain that I was going to die with that sunset.

“So I was watching the sunset and I’d pretty much made peace with it all and then a helicopter flew right over.”

Bryce jumped off his surfboard and lifted the board up.

“I started waving the board in the water and they flew right over, I thought they’d missed me.”

“But then they turned round and when I saw them turn it was indescribable. I can’t describe it at all,” he said tearfully.

“These guys were the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. I owe them my life.”

Bryce told BBC how a morning surf last Sunday turned into a hellish 23 hours.

He said he had driven to Westport car park in the Kintyre peninsula in Scotland on Sunday morning. He waxed his surfboard and then headed out about 11am to “catch some waves”.

But he began to panic as tides and winds carried him out to sea.

“It got to the point where my paddling was ineffective, but I was doing it to keep myself warm.

“It was incredibly lonely and quiet because there was just nothing, just waves. I hadn’t seen any helicopters.

“I was thinking I was going to die, I was almost convinced. I didn’t think I would see sunrise.”

Rescuers have since recovered his surfboard but he said he was not planning to use it again.

“I think we’ll find a good use for it, maybe as starter fuel,” he said.

Asked if he was finished with surfing, he added: “I think so, I couldn’t do that again.”

Fairfax Media


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