A woman watched helplessly from the safety of the sand at a Victoria beach as her husband and adult son got caught in a rip and drowned.
Emergency services were called to the Colonnades at about 5:30pm on Monday following reports of three males in distress while swimming in waters off The Boulevard in the coastal town of Newhaven, located on Phillip Island.
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The 45-year-old father was pulled from the water by paramedics who performed CPR but he was unable to be revived and died at the scene.
The Air Wing and volunteer lifesavers from Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club pulled a 20-year-old man from the surf but he also died at the scene.
The woman's 12-year-old son made it to shore and was taken by ambulance to Monash Children's Hospital in a stable condition.
Senior Sergeant Andy O'Brien, who lives in the area and has never let his children swim at The Collannades, said the beach "was closed" and "too dangerous for swimming".
"That part of the beach wasn't patrolled, it's a surf beach... and if the Surf Life Saving Club is saying it's too dangerous then it is," he said.
"We're imploring people to swim between the flags and during patrol hours.
"It's a tragic start to our holiday season and it's something we see far too much.
"We want everyone to come and enjoy our beaches but to also go home safe."
A local Melbourne woman, Gabby, who has a holiday house nearby, said people rushed to help the family.
"When I got there one had already been rescued but the other was still missing," she said.
"There were some people trying to calm the mum down. She was on the beach and her sons were in the water."
Police will continue to investigate and prepare a report for the coroner.