Surfer rescued after spending 32 hours at sea was ‘certain’ he was going to die

Andy Wells

A surfer who was rescued after spending a staggering 32 hours at sea has revealed that he thought he was going to die just moments before he was found.

Matthew Bryce was spotted by a helicopter drifting in the North Channel 13 miles from Northern Ireland and 16 miles from Scottish shores.

The 22-year-old, from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, was reported missing by his family when he failed to return from a Sunday morning surf off the Argyll coast of Scotland.

He was eventually found by a search and rescue helicopter at around 7.30pm on Monday.

Speaking from his hospital bed in Belfast as he recovers from hypothermia, Matthew revealed how he thought he had just hours to live and had “made peace” with himself.

Vowing never to surf again, he tearfully told the BBC: “I knew I had maybe three hours and I was pretty certain that I was going to die with that sunset.

Matthew Bryce revealed how he made peace with dying just before he was rescued (BBC)

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

“So I jumped off the board and I lifted the board up and I started waving the board in the water and they flew right over, I thought they’d missed me.

“Then they turned round… and then they saved my life. I can’t thank them enough.”

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The interview showed Matthew was also badly sunburnt during his ordeal.

He said he was helpless on Sunday as changing currents and strong winds pushed him further and further from the shore.

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

The 22-year-old has vowed never to surf again (BBC)

Fear set in as night fell on Sunday.

Matthew added: “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.”

An RNLI lifeboat has since recovered his surf board but Matthew is not planning to take it back to sea.

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

Asked by the BBC if he is finished with surfing, Mr Bryce said: “I think so, I couldn’t do that again.”

Top pic: BBC

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