Search for jockey Chris Caserta who is missing after late-night swim at Surfers Paradise beach
A desperate search has been launched for young jockey Chris Caserta, who is feared to have drowned after disappeared during a late-night swim on the Gold Coast.
The 26-year-old from Victoria and a 25-year-old woman - reportedly an apprentice jockey - were in the water off the Esplanade at Surfers Paradise at 10pm Wednesday when passersby heard screaming.
Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Joel McEwan said the pair were struggling in the water.
Members of the public were able to assist the woman to the beach, but Caserta was unable to make it to shore, and has not been seen since.
The woman was taken to Gold Coast University hospital in a stable condition, having inhaled some water.
A land, sea and air search commenced at 2am on Thursday to locate Caserta, who entered the water near Tower 34 wearing only black shorts.
Mr McEwan said the surf conditions at the time appeared ‘okay’ from shore but the area is known for rips and undertows.
“The rescue helicopter as well as lifesavers on jet skis patrolled for some time but were unable to locate (Mr Caserta),” Mr McEwan said.
Queensland Police said the search resumed at first light on Thursday.
Police said earlier media reports that a body had been found were incorrect.
The operation is being made more difficult by gusty winds and murky water from the heavy rain that has pounded the region this week.
Caserta relocated to Queensland from Victoria last year to chase more lucrative career opportunities.
He is most renowned for his 2019 race on Jedastar in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes at Flemington, when he rode at just 44kg after a dramatic weight loss.
Caserta last rode at Grafton on Sunday, finishing fifth on Gus Lightning in the 1100m Blue Brews and BBQ’s Class 1 Handicap.
Originally published as Search for jockey Chris Caserta who is missing after late-night swim at Surfers Paradise beach
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