CRITICAL: The injured man was airlifted to Gold Coast hospital.
CRITICAL: The injured man was airlifted to Gold Coast hospital. Contributed

Bodysurfer pulled from surf last week paralysed

A SWIMMER has been left a quadriplegic after being pulled unconscious from the surf at Byron Bay on Friday.

The 58-year-old New Zealand national was bodysurfing at Main Beach when it appeared he hit his head on a sandbank, Northern NSW Lifeguard co-ordinator Scott McCartney said.

He said the alarm was raised about 4.15pm.

"He didn't have a bodyboard or a surfboard with him. Lifesavers believe he was swimming with his son at the time and there were no boards in the area," he said.

Mr McCartney said lifeguards at the scene reported seeing a large graze on the man's forehead when he was dragged from the water.

"It appeared as though he had come down a wave and gone straight into the sandbank.

"He has obviously done some spinal damage when he hit his head pretty hard on the sand."

Mr McCartney said the incident was a warning to people to check conditions with lifeguards before going bodysurfing.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter airlifted the man, who was in a critical condition, to the Gold Coast on Friday.

Mr McCartney said the hospital reported the man sustained damage to the C2 and C3 vertebrae in his neck, leaving him a quadriplegic.

Yesterday the man remained in a critical condition in Gold Coast University Hospital, requiring a ventilator to breathe.

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