Dramatic rescue of young surfer

NEW Zealand holidaymaker Mike Shire took this dramatic photo of a 20-year-old tourist being winched to safety above a boiling sea at Byron Bay on Sunday afternoon.

The tourist was swimming at Cosy Corner below Cape Byron when he was swept out to sea in surf estimated at two to three metres.

The young man managed to scramble on to rocks below the lighthouse where he continued to be pounded by waves.

Mr Shire said he saw the man in the water below the cliff but he disappeared from view.

"We thought he was gone. We didn't see him on the rocks," he said.

Responding to numerous triple zero calls, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter arrived on the scene and saw the man on the rocks.

A crewman, Tom Lee-Lewes, was lowered down to the man, who was safely winched aboard to the cheers of spectators on the clifftop.

He was taken to Byron Bay Hospital where he was treated for minor cuts.

At the same time, a surfer who was struggling in the big swell 300-metres from the beach, was rescued by a jet ski.

New Zealand holidaymaker, Mike Shire:

"We thought he was gone. We didn't see him on the rocks."


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