Surfer drowns off Freshwater West (Wiki Commons)

A 45-year-old surfer has died off the coast of Pembrokeshire after getting into trouble in the water on Saturday.

Ian Rice, from the Kilgetty area, was assisted by a team from St Govans Coastguard Rescue Team and airlifted him to hospital.

He was flown from Freshwater West by Helimed 57 to the Withybush Hospital but never recovered consciousness.

A post mortem to determine the cause of death will take place on Tuesday.

Dyfed Powys police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the surfer's death.

Freshwater West is a popular beach for surfers, regularly hosting surfing competitions. It is sandy and rocky and is south westerly facing and has a consistent swell and strong waves.

However, Visit Pembrokeshire warns that it should only be used by experienced surfers and strong swimmers as strong rip currents occur off the beach.

A number of people have drowned in the water at Freshwater West over the years as many ignore the warning signs.

In 2010, lifeguards became a permanent fixture during the summer months after six people had to be rescued.

Lifeguards had to attend four separate incidents at Freshwater West after people got caught in rip currents.

Lifeguard supervisor Adam Pitman said: "Fortunately none of those rescued needed medical assistance but it is a fact that they were all swimming outside the red and yellow flagged area, which we recommend as the safest place on the beach to bathe and bodyboard.

"While it is of course a matter of individual choice where people choose to swim, I would encourage everyone to visit a lifeguarded beach and to seek advice, particularly if they are unfamiliar with the area.

"Freshwater West can have strong rip currents, and dynamic wind and tidal conditions which will test even the most experienced surfers, bodyboarders and bathers."