A surfer has been rescued from the sea off Northern Ireland after more than 30 hours in the water.

Belfast Coastguard coordinated the search for the missing surfer who left to go surfing from a beach near Campbeltown in Scotland yesterday and did not return.

A large area of sea and shore line was searched from lunchtime today when the alarm was raised.

He was located this evening and flown to hospital in Belfast where he is being treated for hypothermia.

Dawn Petrie at Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre said hope was fading of finding the surfer safe and well.

She said: "After such a long period in the water and with nightfall approaching we were gravely concerned".

But at 7.30pm tonight, she said, "the crew on the Coastguard rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surf board and 13 miles off the coast".

"He was kitted out with all the right clothing including a thick neoprene suit and this must have helped him to survive for so long at sea.

"He is hypothermic but conscious and has been flown to hospital in Belfast."