Stuart arrived in Byron Bay last Thursday with two friends and they decided to go surfing last weekend. However, fierce waves battered them on nearby rocks and swept them out to sea.

As quoted in the Irish Mirror, Stuart’s friend Levi Fahrenholtz said: “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.”

Stuart’s two friends were rescued after being pulled from the sea and climbing on to nearby rocks respectively; however, it is still not known what happened to Stuart.

Mark Waspe, an officer in Byron Bay Police Station, said: “[The search is] concentrated mainly on the coastline but we have had severe swells so it’s very challenging at the minute.”

The missing Dubliner’s family in Australia have been notified and officials are relaying news back to his parents in Ireland.

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