Swimmer missing at sea and five others pulled from water after getting into difficulty near Clacton Pier

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A man is missing at sea and five others have been pulled from the water close to Clacton Pier in Essex, the coastguard has said.

The emergency services have been called to the scene and a major search and rescue operation is under way to find the man after the group got into difficulty off the coast.

Nigel Brown, communications manager for Clacton Pier, said the current "dragged" them towards the pier.

UK hotter than 98.8% of the planet - heatwave latest

At least six people have drowned while swimming during the heatwave.

A man in his 20s died on Monday while swimming in a lake at Cotswold Water Park in Wiltshire.

Police were called shortly after 6pm but the man was confirmed dead shortly after being pulled from the water.

In Essex as the group was swept out to sea, staff at the pier threw lifebelt rings over the side to help some of those in trouble, Mr Brown said.

"Eight of them were in the water but my understanding is four or five got into difficulty," he said.

"My understanding is one person was missing.

"The group that were in the water were very worried about one person they couldn't see and were saying, 'There's one missing'.

"As far as I know, that person's still missing. They've had the helicopter up."

Mr Brown said it was "difficult to tell their ages" but he believed some were in their late teens and early 20s and fully clothed.

Essex Police said: "We're on the scene assisting emergency services colleagues with a serious and ongoing incident close to Clacton Pier.

"There is a significant emergency services presence in the area while the incident is being dealt with. We'll provide an update as soon as we practically can."

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HM Coastguard said it was responding to "a report of multiple people in the water".

A spokesman said: "HM Coastguard is currently responding to an incident at Clacton Pier following a report of multiple people in the water.

"Five people have been rescued, with the search still ongoing for a sixth man."

Officials have warned about the risks of swimming in the heat.

A 14-year-old went missing while swimming in the River Thames in London and his body was recovered on Tuesday afternoon.

And a 13-year-old died on Monday after he got into trouble in a Northumberland river.

Another boy, 16, also died on Monday in Bray Lake in Berkshire.

Thames Valley Police named him as Sean Norbert Anyanwu and his family described him as "the light of the family... he was everything we could have asked for".

They said: "We are devastated by his loss and we would ask for our privacy to be respected while we grieve."

On Saturday a 50-year-old lost his life at Ardsley Reservoir in Yorkshire and another 16-year-old boy died after getting into difficulty at Salford Quays in Greater Manchester.

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