A brother's agony
By SAMANTHA HEALY
WITH head in his hand, a Kingscliff man could only watch as rescuers searched in vain for his younger brother who went missing in treacherous surf conditions at Kingscliff yesterday. Despite the flurry of activity around him, the man, in his late forties, just stared out to sea, quietly willing his 45-year-old brother to survive. The brothers were at the beach, a section which runs parallelto Marine Parade near Pacific Street, for a mid-day swim when the 45-year-old man got into trouble about 20 metres offshore. Inspector Ross Wilkinson, of Tweed/Byron LAC, said the older brother noticed his younger brother in trouble and raced to get help. "He found a passerby, used their mobile phone to call triple zero. When he turned back he had lost sight of his brother," Insp Wilkinson said. Police, paramedics, Cudgen SLSC lifesavers, the Kingscliff Coastguard and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Lifesaver 5 were quickly mobilised but several hours of searching along the one kilometre stretch of beach failed to find the missing man. "We are hopeful of finding him alive but police do hold grave fears for his safety," Insp Wilkinson said. "He was a confident swimmer and surfer. We will keep searching as long as possible." Insp Wilkinson said when the search began, an off-duty police officer entered the water up to his waist in an effort to locate the man but returned to shore when he realised how strong the current was. But despite the rough, murky waters people still braved the surf with one surfer having to be rescued by the rescuers when he lost his board. Concerned nearby residents could not believe anyone would venture out into the water which was churning up seaweed, dumping huge waves and had rips running along the beach. Tweed surf lifesaving duty officer Andrew Mills said conditions along Kingscliff beaches were "not great" yesterday with a lot of seaweed in the water hampering rescue efforts. "There were a lot of rips, strong currents and a decent 1.2 metre swell," Mr Mills said.