A British man died in Italy while trying to rescue his daughter after she was dragged by strong currents into the sea, according to reports.

The 11-year-old Francesca Pearson got stuck in the water off the Italian coast. Her father, who has been identified as Simon, with the help of an Italian man working at the Bosco Verde beach, rushed into the water to help her, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper. The incident happened in Ostuni, in the Puglia region of southern Italy, on Tuesday (18 July) morning.

The paper said that Pearson's wife Emma, 43, watched helplessly as Simon and the Italian man were taken by strong currents in the sea.

The 48-year-old British tourist and the Italian man were pulled from the water and were given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by paramedics but they were pronounced dead.

The girl was saved, local news site Ostuni Notizie reported. The Coastguard rescued other beachgoers who were dragged into the sea.

"We are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Puglia. Our staff are in contact with Italian authorities," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

The coastguard official said that strong winds and a recent storm meant the sea was rough and the red flag warning against swimming in the sea was flying.

"The girl was struggling to stand up and then the dad went in and he got into trouble. It was horrible to watch as his wife was on the beach screaming," a local cafe owner said.