A mother and her three children are recovering in hospital from hypothermia after trying to rescue their pet dogs from the sea.
Coastguards said two brothers, aged nine and 14, went into the sea at Carlyon Bay, St Austell, to try to save their dogs but they were overcome by the rough conditions.
Their 16-year-old sister and mother also encountered difficulties then went into the water to rescue the boys.
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 the family were in trouble.
Brixham Coastguard responded by calling 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.
Helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and the Cornwall Air Ambulance both landed on the beach where the three children and their mother were found suffering from the effects of being in the freezing water.
The family were airlifted 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."