Rescue workers searching for two teenage brothers reported missing in the sea off the coast of Lancashire have found two bodies, police have said.
HM Coastguard and the RNLI had been trying to locate 18-year-old Muhammad Azhar Shabbir and 16-year-old Ali Athar Shabbir, both from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, on Sunday.
Lancashire Police said the bodies were discovered at just after 3.15pm on Sunday about a mile away from St Annes Pier – the area where the two brothers had got into difficulty in the water on Saturday evening.
“Whilst they have yet to be formally identified, they are believed to be Muhammad and Ali,” the force said in a statement.
“Their family have been notified and are continuing to be supported by a specially trained officer.”
It added: “Our thoughts and condolences remain with them and their friends at this incredibly distressing time.”
The force also thanked colleagues at HM Coastguard, the RNLI and the National Police Air Service (NPAS) for their help with the search and thanked members of the public who offered to help.
HM Coastguard wrote on Twitter that its thoughts were with Muhammad and Ali’s family and friends “during this incredibly difficult time”.
An extensive air and sea search had been unable to find the brothers on Sunday morning and was temporarily stood down.
Police were alerted at 6.55pm on Saturday after the two teenagers went missing close to St Annes Pier in Lytham St Annes.
Their 15-year-old cousin, who was not named but is also from Dewsbury, managed to swim to shore and was in hospital being treated for hypothermia as of Sunday afternoon.
Coastguard rescue teams from Lytham and Fleetwood and the coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon had been part of the operation.
They were joined by RNLI lifeboats from Lytham St Annes and Blackpool, independent rescue service Southport Lifeboat, together with Lancashire Police and North West Ambulance Service.
Additional reporting by PA