A FAMILY spent Christmas Eve in hospital with hypothermia after being rescued from the sea at Carlyon Bay.
Two boys, aged 9 and 14, had gone into the choppy waters trying to save their two pet dogs.
After being overcome by the rough sea, both their 16-year-old sister and their mother then went in to try to help them.
An off-duty fireman then also braved the waters to recover the family of four.
After a man nearby called 999, Brixham coastguard called out the St Austell coastguard rescue team and requested a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, plus the Fowey RNLI lifeboat. The coastguard rescue team was first to arrive, finding the family on the beach.
They assisted until a Royal Navy helicopter lifted the whole family to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, suffering with hypothermia.
The weather at the time was a south-westerly wind, force 4 with a rough swell. The air temperature was 7C, with a sea temperature of 8C.
Fiona Iris, Brixham coastguard watch manager, said: "Please do not enter the water after your dogs. More often than not, dogs will get themselves out of trouble."