Distraught mother of missing teen collapses on beach during search

A devastated family is holding onto hope that a teenage boy, missing in the surf at Maroubra Beach may still be alive.

Rescuers aren’t giving up either, almost 24 hours since Tui Gallaher, 14, got into trouble and disappeared in the surf.

He had been swimming with his cousin, also 14, at the southern end of the beach about 8.30pm when they got into trouble in the surf.

By first light a full scale effort was sweeping Maroubra Beach including lifeguards on jet skis below and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter scanning from above.

Tui Gallaher went missing while swimming at an eastern Sydney beach. Source: 7 NewsThe distraught mother of a missing teenager has fainted while watching the search for him on Maroubra Beach. Source: 7 NewsFamily members and desperate bystanders could only watch on as rescue crews scoured the ocean for Tui. Source: 7 News

Meanwhile the Gallaher family kept a shoreline vigil as the boy’s overcome mother – overcome collapsed to the sand, fearing the worst.

“There’s no words. Speechless, crying, I just gave her a hug, gave her some water, there’s nothing, what can you say,” a devastated friend told 7 News.

NSW Police said one the cousin was rescued by a 26-year-old man who was walking past, but when the man returned to the water to assist Tui he could not find him.

“To take the initiative and enter the surf to try and rescue someone is a fantastic thing to do and something that’s extremely admirable.”

The woman’s friend tried to help her up when she fainted. Source: 7 News

A woman believed to be the Tui’s mother was sitting on the beach watching the search when she collapsed.

A NSW Surf Life Saving spokesman said she was attended to by Surf Life Savers, lifeguards and paramedics.

“She was experiencing considerable distressed and fainted,” he said.

Tui Gallaher has been missing since going swimming at Maroubra Beach last night. Source: 7 NewsThe mother was described as being “considerably distressed”.

He said the woman was revived and surf life savers and paramedics stayed with her some time while she recovered.

But he said it was eventually determined that she did not need to go to hospital.

The mother was on the beach to watch search efforts for her son.The mother was assisted by surf life savers. Source: 7 News

The search for Tui has involved the Marine Area Command, Police Rescue, the Ambulance Rescue helicopter and Surf Life Saving Australia lifeguards.

It was suspended at about 11.40pm last night due to poor visibility and surf conditions.

The search for the teenage boy continues. Source: 7 News

The Surf Life Saving spokesman said the search would continue tonight for as long as conditions allow.

NSW Police Inspector Chris Whalley has commended the efforts of a passer-by who tried to save the missing boy. Source: 7 News

NSW Police inspector Chris Whalley has commended the efforts of the 26-year-old man.

“Clearly, the efforts of the passerby, are outstanding,” Inspector Whalley said.

“To take the initiative and to enter the surf to try and rescue someone is a fantastic thing to do and is something that is extremely admirable.”

The search for the missing teen continues. Source: 7 News

He said the cousin that was saved and the rest of the family are very shaken and police are keeping them updated on the search.

“The search is centred on an area where the Westpac Life Saver helicopter has identified as being likely and that will continue to be the case.”

Matthew Evans, from NSW Surf Life Saving said the conditions when Tui went missing were difficult and are similar today.

He there is about a “three to four foot swell running” and the southern end of the Maroubra Beach has been closed for the search.

“There’s a couple of rips running down the southern end of the beach, so it’s making things a bit difficult conditions wise.”

Matthew Evans, from NSW Surf Life Saving has reminded people not to swim on beaches without flags. Source: 7 News

He said when the boy went missing the beach was not patrolled and the flags would not have been up.

“As a general guideline from Surf Life Saving we would advise people swim at patrolled locations.

“If you’re unsure of the conditions seek conditions from the lifeguards or life saving services on patrol and if you’re unsure please don’t enter the water.”

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