Two British women who died in the Mediterranean following a late-night swim have been named in reports as Lisa Coggins and Tracey Aston.
One of the women reportedly went to the rescue of her friend, who had got into difficulty after going for a swim, when they both got swept away at around 4.15am.
Their bodies were discovered seven hours later in the water off Lloret de Mar, a popular resort on the Costa Brava where they were on holiday.
Another friend who went for a swim is understood to have made it back to shore.
They had reportedly ignored warnings not to go in the sea, which has been struck by bad weather.
Speaking from his home in Birmingham, Ms Coggins’s boyfriend Mario Sassano, 36, told the Birmingham Mail she was with her sisters and her friend when tragedy struck.
He said: “She had two children. We do not know how the news will be broken to them.”
He paid tribute to his girlfriend, describing her as a “hard-working girl, just beautiful”.
The sea has been hit by strong winds and weather warnings have been in place.
The pair, who are both from Birmingham, were reported missing at 4.15am today, Spanish search and rescue service Salvamento Maritimo said.
Rock Badfrozien, from Catalan Police, said they were among a group of five women from Birmingham on holiday in the area.
He told the Press Association: “They are from Birmingham and they are a group of five women. They went to the beach in the night and the sea was in very bad condition.
“Two of them, these women, I don’t know how old they are, went in to the water, and they died in the water.
“We don’t know what has happened, but the sea was in very bad condition, with a red flag on the beach. There was very drastic conditions, and it was dangerous to go in to the sea in those conditions.”
A spokesman for the town hall in Lloret de Mar told Spanish website The Local that a group of five women had been warned not to go in to the sea by a security guard at a beach bar, but two went in anyway.
When one of the swimmers got in to difficulty, a friend on the shore went to her rescue and they both got swept out to sea.
Ana Riera told The Local: “It seems one of the original swimmers was able to get to shore but the other was struggling, so a friend went to her rescue and they both got swept out to sea.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of two British nationals who had been reported missing in Lloret de Mar on October 1.
“We are providing support to the families and those who were travelling with the individuals at this difficult time.”
Salvamento Maritimo said the bodies of the women, believed to be aged 33 and 36, were found shortly after noon local time and had been taken to the neighbouring town of Blanes, 40 miles north of Barcelona.
Mr Badfrozien said their bodies were found by a helicopter at 12.30pm one mile off the coast of Lloret de Mar, and that they were retrieved from the sea by a rescue boat half an hour later.
They are now being held at a medical centre and post-mortem examinations are expected to take place on Friday, he said.