Falmouth and Exeter university students in sea rescue
Dramatic footage has been released of two swimmers being rescued by helicopter from the sea.
The students, part of a group of five who went swimming at Holywell Bay, were swept out to sea in a rip current in Cornwall on Sunday.
One made it to shore to raise the alarm but then went back into the water to help the others.
Three of the group made it back to shore unaided but the remaining two had to be rescued, the Coastguard said.
David Goudge, from Newquay, watched the rescue and said: "All you could see were their heads bobbing up and down, and the waves crashing over the top."
He said the rescuers were "heroes" and the students should not have been in the sea in those conditions.
All five, from Falmouth University and the University of Exeter in Cornwall, were transferred by helicopter to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
Gareth Horner, Newquay RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: "It was a very dangerous situation with the real possibility of it turning into a tragedy."
The universities said a group of 24 students from the Student Union Sea Swimming Club were involved in a beach clean, before a small number entered the water.
A spokesperson said: "All students have since been discharged from hospital.
"As two of the five were the drivers of the minibuses which had taken the students to Holywell Bay, taxis were organised by the universities to collect the remaining students and return them to their homes."
Emma Watkins, from UK Coastguard said: "At this time of year, it is out of season. No lifeguards are on duty.
"Whilst it may appear to look like a nice day it doesn't mean the water is safe. We strongly advise people to check for warning signs."