Queensland Police have told the family of Victorian jockey Chris Caserta they are searching for his body, after he went missing while swimming in Surfers Paradise on Wednesday.
Gold Coast Water Police and Search Commander Senior Sergeant Jay Notaro said the time frame for Mr Caserta's survival has elapsed after search efforts stretched from as far as South Stradbroke Island to Burleigh Heads.
"It is an absolute tragedy at any time, but particularly just before Christmas," Sen Sgt Notatro said on Thursday.
"On behalf of the Queensland Police Service, I'd like to pass on our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in the racing industry.
"We'll continue to search and our goal is to return Chris to his family."
Mr Caserta, 26, disappeared after going swimming with a 25-year-old woman at the beach off the Esplanade about 10pm on Wednesday.
Onlookers saw the couple struggling in the water and were able to help the woman to the shore.
The LifeFight chopper was deployed, tasked by the Queensland Police Service on Wednesday evening to help scour the coastline.
Surf Lifesaving Queensland, Gold Coast City Council, volunteer marine rescue, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and South Stradbroke Island Park Ranger have also assisted in the search.
Minister for Education and Racing Grace Grace extended her condolences to Mr Caserta's family in parliament on Thursday.
"My thoughts are also with the family and friends of jockey Chris Caserta, who is currently missing after a late-night swim at Surfers Paradise," she said.
"I can only imagine what Chris' family and friends are going through."
Sen Sgt Notaro added it's a timely reminder to swim on patrolled beaches during monitored hours.
"By not doing so, you're putting your own life at risk and also putting the lives at risk of those people who try and rescue you," he said.
Police haven't determined how long the search will go for as a land, sea and air search effort for Caserta, who was wearing black shorts, continues.
Australian Associated Press