Search resumes for veteran surf lifesaver

UPDATE at 10.30 AM on SUNDAY | THE search has resumed for a Surf Life Saving veteran who vanished while swimming at a beach on the New South Wales far north coast.

Lynn ‘Raz’ Butronwood, 69, went missing in rough seas at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach while on his daily morning swim on Saturday morning.

It’s understood the retired school teacher signalled for help but by the time lifesavers got out to him, he was gone.


The 69-year-old was a volunteer at the Ballina Surf Life Saving Club for more than 20 years and has been described by those who knew him as a “local legend” and a “strong swimmer”.

Raz Butronwood, 69, went missing in rough seas at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach on Saturday | (Supplied)

“He is one of those kind of guys that can sort of predict any rip, the size of the wave and how he moves himself through the water,” Ballina Surf Club’s Benjamin Coulter told 9NEWS.

Lifesavers said conditions in the water deteriorated on Saturday and were ‘horrendous’ at the time Raz went missing.

Police, paramedics, SES volunteers, Marine Rescue and the Westpac Lifesaver helicopter spent more then seven hours searching for the veteran life saver on Saturday.

FIRST at 6:30 PM on SATURDAY | A LARGE-SCALE air and sea search for a man who disappeared while swimming at a beach on New South Wales North Coast has been suspended.

The 69-year-old man vanished after entering the water at Lighthouse Beach at Ballina about 10.15am on Saturday.

Sadly, following an extensive seven-hour land and water search, the man could not be found and remains missing.

At 7pm AEDT, NSW Police released a statement, confirming the search had been called off for the night.

“The search has now been suspended and will resume tomorrow morning,” the statement said.

Lifesaver 45 refuelling at Ballina Airport (Supplied/Surf Life Saving Queensland)

Police, paramedics, SES volunteers and Marine Rescue spent the day searching for the man, but to no avail.

Two Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopters were also called in to help.

It’s understood a chopper was first dispatched from the Gold Coast, before it was relieved by a second from Sydney.

If you have information for Police, please contact NSW Police on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day. 

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