Three surfers have died after getting into difficulty in the sea off a beach in Cornwall.

The two men and a woman were airlifted by a helicopter at Mawgan Porth, near Newquay, and later died in hospital.

The surfers are believed to be a woman in her 30s, a man in his 50s and another man aged between 25 and 30. Two of the victims were given medical treatment at the scene, after being pulled out of the water.

Coastguards received several 999 calls at around 1.15pm GMT, when the three surfers got into trouble.

After the alarm was raised, a search was launched involving Newquay and Padstow Coastguard rescue teams, RNLI lifeboats, and a Royal Navy helicopter from RNAS Culdrose.

The three surfers were among a group of seven people, including four children, who were on boards in the water. The four young people were located safety on the shore.

Superintendent Jim Peace said: "This is a tragic incident and our condolences go out to the families of those involved.

"Along with the other emergency services, we are now working to ascertain the full circumstances of this incident and our priority is to contact the families of those involved and offer all the support we can."

Devon and Cornwall Police issued the following statement: "Three people were taken unconscious from the sea and taken to Treliske [Hospital] for treatment in a serious condition.

"Sadly, all three people were later pronounced deceased in hospital. They are two men and a woman. The victims have not yet been identified and police are currently tracing their next of kin. The remaining four people are accounted for and are safe."

A spokesman for the Merrymoor Inn pub, which overlooks the beach, told The Cornish Guardian: "The emergency services were here incredibly quickly. It was out of this world. They brought some of them into the pub wrapped in blankets but it is terrible what has happened."