A couple strolling along a Gold Coast beach believed they heard a man screaming for help from behind the breakers last night, sparking a search involving boats, four-wheel-drives and helicopters.
The man on shore had tried to dive into the ocean, but was held back by a strong current.
Acting Superintendent Glenn Allen said the couple were walking along Kurrawa Beach in Broadbeach about 10pm when they heard the yells and saw a shadow behind the breakers.
Police launched a search as soon as they were called but it was suspended just after midnight and resumed this morning at first light.
Police remained hopeful nobody drowned and had not found any clothes on the beach and no missing person report had been filed since the screams were heard.
“We’re hopeful it may be a false alarm but if someone is there, we’re doing everything to ensure that if there is someone there we are using all of our resources to try to find them,” Superintendent Allen said.
“It’s very labour intensive, very resource intensive for the police but what price do you put on a human life?”
Superintendent Allen said while the couple both heard the man, neither of them had seen him.
“Initially I was told he (the witness) actually saw somebody but police have taken a comprehensive statement off him, he’s saying it was a more of a shadow at the back of the breakers and this person was calling for help,” he said.
“Even on the back of that we still consider it’s within our duty to take all reasonable care to find this person.”
Superintendent Allen said the man dove into the water, but could not swim out very far because of the strong current. He instead returned to the beach and he and his partner phoned police.
The Gold Coast police helicopter was used in the search last night and will take to the skies again after midday relieving the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue helicopter which has been searching since this morning.
Three police vessels – including jet-skis and boats – are out in the water and 4WDs are searching the beach along with Gold Coast police’s rhino vehicles, which were built especially to be used on the sand.
“At this stage we’re doing everything we can to ensure that if that person is in the water we’ll find them,” Superintendent Allen said.
He estimated if there was in face a man in the water he would have been 20 to 30 metres from shore when his yells were heard and search conditions last night and today were “ideal”.
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