Surfer rescued after being swept out to sea

05:17, Aug 18 2012

A surfer swept out to sea on Auckland's wild west coast has prompted a major sea and air search which ended with him found alive and well.

The man with a friend was surfing in high winds and rough seas at Bethells Beach when he got into difficulties at 2pm today.

When he appeared to be swallowed up by turbulent waters, his friends raised the alarm.

Auckland Coastguard aircraft and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter launched a search while Coastguard and Bethells Beach Surf Life Saving Patrol joined in.

The man was spotted south of Bethells Beach by the Coastguard aircraft about three kilometres at sea sitting on his board.

The Coastguard aircraft dropped a flare which guided a boat to the surfer.

An Auckland Police Maritime spokesperson said the surfer was then taken back to the shore safe and sound.