'Missing' teen surfer blissfully unaware of major search

UPDATE 1.26pm: A TEEN surfer who sparked a large search after reports he was missing at Belongil Beach on Sunday was unaware of the drama he was at the centre of.

A Surf Life Saving Far North Coast spokesman said the 14-year-old went to the beach with two mates and one of their father's for a surf.

"They were out surfing and it is believed he came ashore for some reason which separated him for his two mates and the adult," the spokesman said.

This was confirmed by Tweed Byron police Inspector Chad Deegenaars.

"He has got out of the water and his friends assumed he would go back out," he said.

"His gear was still on the beach that's why his mates thought he was still in the water."

At 8.55am surf lifesavers received a report about the missing teenager.

Police, water police, Byron Bay surf lifesavers on a jet ski plus an inflatable rescue boat, Brunswick Heads lifesavers on a jet ski and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter were called to search for the boy.

Insp Deegenaars said the boy was located by officers in the Byron Bay CBD about 11.20am.

"Police spoke with him in the Byron Bay CBD and he was unaware there was a search going on for him."


INITIAL REPORT: POLICE and the rescue helicopter searched for a 14-year-old surfer initially feared missing in the surf at Belongil Beach, Byron Bay, on Sunday morning.

The search continued for nearly two-and-a-half* hours before the boy was found alive and well.

* A previous version of this report report said only that the search lasted more than an hour.

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