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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 20 September 2020
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'The waves didn't seem huge... But we couldn't paddle against it'

Friends of Stuart Butler describe getting into trouble before the Irish surfer disappeared.

Image: Andrew Sole

THE SEARCH FOR missing Irish surfer Stuart Butler continues today as his friends recall the moment he got in trouble on Saturday morning.

Police in Byron Bay confirmed to TheJournal.ie this evening that there have been no significant developments in the recovery operation. The search will resume shortly near the country’s Gold Coast when police divers are expected.

The 19-year-old Dublin native was surfing with two friends when all three got into difficulty.

“The waves didn’t even seem huge; I would describe (the surf) as semi-huge that day,” 25-year-old Levi Fahrenholtz told The Northern Star today.

“It wasn’t the size of the waves, it was more that it looked choppy – I thought I might get thrashed around – but it was going to be fun. It was just buggerising around – we weren’t looking to prove anything.

We had just paddled out to the first break and then we were suddenly in the gutter getting dragged out. We couldn’t paddle against it (the rip); it was too strong.

Fahrenholtz, a US citizen, was eventually rescued from the water after being dragged around the Cape, while English teenager Mike Fuller managed to pull himself onto the rocks.

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Hopes have faded for finding the young Dublin man alive with police divers, expected to arrive tonight (Irish time) treating it as a recovery mission.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with members of the missing man’s family here in Ireland and in Australia.

Third day of search for missing Irish surfer Stuart Butler concludes in Australia

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