A man who walked fully-clothed into the sea at Bexhill has been flown to hospital in a life-threatening condition, the ambulance service confirmed.
Emergency services were called to the scene close to the Old Bathing station, off De La Warr Parade, at 12.10pm (Tuesday, February 26).
A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) said: “I can confirm that ambulance crews including our Hazardous Area Response Team attended the scene following reports of a person in the water.
“The patient was rescued by coastguard and flown to Conquest Hospital in a life-threatening condition.”
A police spokesman said officers were responding to reports of a man going into the sea.
The spokesman added: “He was monitored while he was swimming but around 2.30pm he was recovered from the sea.
“He has been taken to hospital.”
The Hastings Coastguard Rescue team confirmed it was called to the scene alongside the Bexhill Coastguard and two senior coastal operations officers.
It said it was responding to reports of a person in the water near Bexhill sailing club.
It added: “When we arrived on scene the person was still in the water, and was being engaged by the crew on Hastings lifeboat.
“After some time the lifeboat crew were able to bring the casualty to shore, and into the care of our Coastguard Rescue Officers and ambulance crews from SECAMB and HART paramedics.
“Due to the casualty’s condition the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter was requested to transport him to the Conquest hospital and we were re-tasked to set up a helicopter landing site near the Conquest Hospital.
“When the helicopter had safely departed the hospital we were then released form the incident and stood down.”
The team said it returned to the station at 3.30pm.
Eyewitness Gav Greenaway said a rescue boat, belonging to the Coastguard, searched the area while members of the rescue team were seen putting on life jackets.
Three incident response vans from the South East Coast Ambulance Service were also sent to the scene.
Photos on social media appeared to show the Coastguard helicopter landing on the beach at Galley Hill.
Jason Smith, who was on the beach when the man walked towards the sea, said the man left a bag containing a number of personal items.
He said: “I called out to him to ask if he was OK as he walked in, because he had left his bag and the tide was coming in fast, but he just kept walking.
“Such a shame but hopefully he can get the help he needs now even if it took a lot of man power to get him out the water.”
Jason said police arrived on scene shortly after the man entered the water.
He added: “I hope he is OK after being out in the cold sea for so long.”