Search and rescue called on after surfer washed out to sea

Sunday 2 September 2007, 9:38PM
By New Zealand Police


At approximately 4:30pm police were advised of a surfer who had drifted out to sea from a remote section of coastline, and could no longer be seen.

The incident occurred near Butress Point which is south of Bruce Bay between Haast and Fox Glacier.

The area is extremely remote and getting information from the scene was difficult, as was getting resources to it.

Two helicopters were involved in the Search & Rescue operation being James Scott based south of Fox Glacier and Saxton's from Haast.

One of the helicopters sighted the surfer who had been swept back onto rocks and was able to hover load him to safety.

The man, who lives in Haast drifted approximately 6 kilometers in 4m swells from where he was last seen and was in the water for approximately 2hrs.

He did not require medical attention although was exhausted after his ordeal.

He was left in the care of his friends.

Police wish to stress that while the West Coast beaches offer good recreational opportunities, that it is some of the most dangerous coast line in the country and coupled with its remoteness, adds to that danger.

People need to be aware that help is a long, long way away and that there will be significant delays in emergency services arriving on site.

As a result extra care and precautions need to be taken.