A 13-year-old girl from bravely Brighton tried to save her father who died after being pulled from the sea this afternoon.
Her father, Kevin Reynolds, 52, of Queen’s Park Road, Brighton, went into the water after their two dogs near the Palace Pier.
Mr Reynolds, who has five children, died in hospital three hours after the lunchtime rescue.
His daughter was distressed but physically uninjured.
One of their dogs came ashore although the other dog is still missing.
Mr Reynolds and his daughter were walking their dogs, believed to be Jack Russells or terriers, shortly after midday across from the Queen’s Hotel.
When the dogs ran into the sea near the East Street groyne Mr Reynolds went into the water to try to rescue them.
His daughter saw that her father was in difficulty and went into the water to try to help him.
Sussex Police said that at least two people went into the sea and helped the girl to safety but were unable to reach Mr Reynolds.
The Brighton lifeboat plucked him from the sea 30 to 50 yards offshore in waves with a breaking height of 6ft to 10ft and in a wind of up to 30 knots.
Chief Inspector Helen West, of Sussex Police, said: “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 and airlifted to hospital.
“Generally dogs eventually return to their owners after entering water and it is certainly not worth the risk for individuals to go into the sea especially during adverse water conditions.”
Mark Bell, the Brighton inshore lifeboat helmsman, said: “It was the roughest conditions I’ve seen in a long time and on scene was a very inhospitable place to be, close in shore, with heavy breaking surf, and made all the worse by the terribly sad events that led to us being called.”