A WOMAN has drowned at Aldinga Beach, with another two people treated by paramedics at the scene, as thousands flock to beaches to avoid the South Australian heatwave.
Emergency services were called to the popular beach, south of Adelaide, about 7pm.
Witnesses said a group of people were on an inflatable raft which drifted into the ocean away from the shore in south-easterly winds.
Witnesses said the woman, thought to be in her mid-30s, was on a large inflatable raft, commonly sold in stores this summer.
Two people attempted to rescue her, as horrified onlookers watched on.
At least two other people have been treated on the beach, however it is not believed they have suffered life-threatening injuries.
Two helicopters, numerous ambulances and police swarmed upon the beach after initial fears a number of people had been stranded in deep water.
A police spokeswoman said it was now believed that nobody was missing, however emergency services were ensuring nobody remained in the water.
The spokeswoman said the ages of those on the raft were not yet known, and paramedics and police remain on the scene.
Paramedics treated the victim, after she was dragged ashore by members of the public, but to no avail.
It is thought the woman, whose name has not been released, was in the water with a group of swimmers, including her younger sister, when she got into strife.
Witness Rebecca, who did not reveal her last name, said: “When they pulled her back in (to shore), the younger woman was yelling ‘someone help my sister’ … everyone rushed to grab on the inflatable and pulled them in.”
Another witness Darrell tried to resuscitate the victim.
“Two kayakers swam out and paddled her (the woman) and a younger woman back in,” he said.
“I gave two rounds of compression, two breaths. She was unresponsive … the emergency services were here almost immediately.”
It is thought the victim’s partner was on shore at the time with a group of children.
Surf Lifesaving South Australia operations officer Ben Laurenson said the details of the tragic incident remained unclear.
However, Mr Laurenson said surf lifesaving volunteers had already rescued at least two other people who came adrift on inflatable rafts this summer.
“We have responded to a couple of similar incidents this summer and have rescued some people from similar situations,” Mr Laurenson said.
“We would warn people to exercise extreme caution when they are in the water, no matter what they are doing and to swim between the flags.”