A mother and her three children are recovering in hospital from hypothermia after getting into trouble while trying to rescue their pet dogs from the sea.
Coastguards said two brothers, aged nine and 14, had gone into the sea at Carlyon Bay, St Austell, this afternoon to rescue their dogs.
The boys were overcome by the sea conditions and their 16-year-old sister and mother then went into the water to save them.
An off-duty fireman also went to help as emergency services rushed to the beach following a 999 call from a member of the public saying three children were in difficulty in the water.
Brixham Coastguard called out the St Austell Coastguard rescue team and alerted the ambulance service.
A rescue helicopter was also scrambled, as was the RNLI Lifeboat from Fowey.
The Coastguard rescue team was the first to arrive on scene and found the three children and their mother on the beach suffering from the effects of being in the cold water. They gave medical assistance until the ambulance service arrived.
Helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and the Cornwall Air Ambulance both landed on the beach.
The family of four were taken by the Navy helicopter to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro suffering from hypothermia.
Fiona Iris, Brixham Coastguard watch manager, said: "This family of four are now in the hospital after going into the sea after their pet dogs.
"The south westerly wind does have an effect on the sea and this can cause large breaking waves.
"The combined effects of the cold wind and the cold water can cause hypothermia very quickly.
"We would recommend that you keep your pet dogs on a lead near the water or cliff edges.
"Please do not enter the water after your dogs. More often than not dogs will get themselves out of trouble."