Three people have died on beaches in southern France as Europe finds itself in the grip of heatwave hell.
Soaring temperatures caused by a plume of North African air moving over Europe are said to be responsible for the deaths of three swimmers, who reportedly suffered from cold water shock.
A 70-year-old man reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest in calm water, while a 62-year-old woman and another man, aged 75, died in similar circumstances, according to French news outlet LCI.
Cold-water shock is the first stage of sudden immersion into water, usually with a temperature below 15C, and can instantly affect breathing and movement – even among strong and confident swimmers.
French firefighters are warning people not to swim in water that is too cold during the hot weather and swimmers are being advised to enter the water gradually.
Meteorologists have placed more than half of France on alert, with charity organisations patrolling the streets of Paris to provide water to homeless people.