A Christmas Day paddle at Hastings Beach has turned into tragedy after a woman died when she was swept into a groyne.
In chilly conditions and with winds gusting at around 50 knots, according to Dover coastguards, the woman was among a small group of swimmers when she was knocked off her feet by a wave while paddling along the shoreline and swept into a metal barrier along the beach.
Friends tried to rescue the stricken woman who was floating face down in the water, but were unable to reach her.
Two lifeboats were launched and the unnamed woman was pulled unconscious from the water where medics tried to resuscitate her. She was was rushed to hospital and Sussex Police confirmed today that she had died from her injuries.
The incident happened at around 10.35am on Christmas Day.
A Dover Coastguard spokesman said: “She collided with a groyne, suffered head injuries and was face-down in the water for some time.
“Three people went into the water in an attempt to rescue the lady but couldn’t manage it. They did manage to get out of the water themselves.
“The lady was taken off to hospital for treatment. She was in a poor state of health.
“The winds were gusting around 50 knots. It was not suitable for swimming or small craft.”