A WITNESS has described the moment lifesavers sprung into action and pulled three people from the sea.

Three air ambulances were called to the scene in Marine Parade West this afternoon.

It followed reports three people were recovered from the water and were being treated on the beach.

Ambulance, Coastguard and police were in attendance.

Two of the three people rescued remain in a critical condition.

One witness, who asked not to be named, said: "It all started at about 1pm.

"I was on the seafront when all of a sudden there was a commotion on the beach.

"I ran down and saw the lifeboat.

"They were all young. A fireman who was off duty, who just happened to be around [and helped] for 25 minutes until paramedics took over.

"He looked exhausted.

"All of a sudden there was a third person on the beach.

"Once they realised the enormity of the situation they were all working so damned hard

"It is so sad.

"It's the best day we've had in a few weeks, it is always days like this something terrible happens."