Mawgan Porth Beach: a popular surf break in Cornwall | Photo: Creative Commons/Robert Hewitt

Three surfers have lost their lives in a rip current off Mawgan Porth Beach, near Newquay, Cornwall, in England.

Two men and a woman, with ages between 42 and 52, were surfing in challenging conditions, with powerful three-to-six foot waves hitting the Cornish shores.

"The waves were bigger, they were quite big. And it wasn’t the safest of days to be in the sea. But it wasn’t particularly dangerous. There were lots of safe places to be, and they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," explained the owner of a local surf school.

A total of seven surfers were caught in a rip current, including four children. The three adults were taken unconscious from the water but were later pronounced dead in hospital. It is not clear if the victims were trying to rescue the younger group fo surfers.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) confirmed that lifeguards patrol Mawgan Porth Beach between March and September, and that lack of cover is clearly stated in signs on the beach.

However, the RNLI believes that the lifeguard patrol at the beach may be extended into the autumn half-term holiday because Mawgan Porth is one of the most popular surf breaks in the region.

Learn how to survive a rip current. Assess ocean conditions before entering the water, especially if you're not an accomplished surfer.

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