A young man has died after getting into difficulty in the sea off the Antrim coast.

The alarm was raised just after 5pm yesterday after one of a group of four swimmers got into difficulty close to Dunluce Castle in the Bushmills area of Co Antrim.

Emergency services, including coastguard teams, the RNLI, rescue helicopter, ambulance service and police, attended the scene.

Judith McNeice, from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said the teenager's friends made "valiant efforts to try and save him".

She said he was taken from the water by Portrush Lifeboat personnel, but was pronounced dead at the scene.

She said he was taken from the water by Portrush Lifeboat personnel, but was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ms McNeice said: "Although it was an absolutely beautiful day, the north coast is notorious for having a large swell even in the most benign of weather so there is a risk even on a lovely day like that to people going in and swimming or jumping off rocks.

"The others were trying to help their friend and they made valiant efforts to try and rescue him. One of them suffered some minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

"I'm sure it will be extremely upsetting for them but they can take some comfort in the fact that they did everything they could for their friend."

Ms McNeice urged the public to be wary of the sea, warning of hidden dangers below the surface such as rocks and strong currents.

"We would just encourage people to just be extremely careful, especially at this particularly strange time we are all going through at the moment, and make sure they go to lifeguarded beaches if they want to swim, that they are properly equipped, and check the weather and tides before they go," she added.

A PSNI spokesman said officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.