Gardaí say two women who got into difficulty while swimming at Inch strand in Co Kerry this evening have died.
It is thought the women were in their 60s and 70s.
The rescue operation was launched after a lifeguard alerted emergency services.
The women were airlifted to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee in a critical condition and were later pronounced dead.
A spokesperson for Kerry County Council, which employs lifeguards at the beach said the accident occurred in a shallow section of the water.
Weather conditions were described as calm at the time.