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Father dies after dog rescue bid

A father died after he went into the sea while trying to rescue his dogs, the coastguard has said.

Kevin Reynolds, 52, and his 13-year-old daughter lost the two Jack Russells in the water off Brighton seafront, opposite the Queens Hotel, just after midday

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said the man went in first to try and help the animals but it appears he fell and could have hit his head on a groyne.

The teenager, along with several members of the public who witnessed the drama, also then went into the water. She was quickly rescued in the rough seas but Mr Reynolds, from Queens Park Road, Brighton, was washed out more than 30 metres towards the pier in sea temperatures of 5C.

He was lifted from the sea by the Brighton RNLI inshore lifeboat and then airlifted to the Royal Sussex Hospital where medics were unable to save him. The girl was treated by ambulance crews but she is not thought to be seriously injured.

Colin Griffiths, duty watch manager at Solent Coastguard, said: "This is a tragic story for the family. Dogs will generally eventually return to their owners after a swim and it is certainly not worth the risk, paid as a heavy price today, for individuals to go into seas of temperatures generally at about four to five degrees Celsius this time of year. Hypothermia and cold shock will set in very, very quickly and survivability is slim."

Sussex Police said the man was from Brighton and he died in hospital three hours after the incident.

A spokeswoman said at least two members of the public helped pull the girl to safety. "His daughter has been medically examined at hospital and although obviously distressed, is not injured," she said.

Chief Inspector Helen West added: "This is a truly tragic event and my sympathies go to the family. Members of the public bravely entered the sea to try to rescue the father and daughter. The man was difficult to reach and eventually pulled from the water by the lifeboat."

One of the dogs has been found, the other is missing.

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