Two 16-year-old boys have died in a "tragic drowning incident" at Enagh Lough in Co Derry.

They have been named locally as Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian, both of whom were 16.

The teenagers were among a group of six friends who had gone to the lake in the Strathfoyle area of the city yesterday afternoon.

It is believed the incident occurred after some of them went swimming.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland statement said officers were called shortly after 6.25pm yesterday to reports of a number of people in difficulty in the water.

Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said a rapid-response paramedic, five emergency crews, a hazardous area response team and an ambulance officer were dispatched to the scene.

NIAS also tasked the air ambulance to attend the incident.

The PSNI said one boy was taken from the water and brought to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police said a second boy was also recovered from the water "after extensive searches by Foyle Search and Rescue and police divers. He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene".

One other teenager was taken to hospital for non life-threatening injuries.

Three other teenage boys were not injured, but were left badly shaken by the ordeal.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin expressed his sympathy to the families.

Local priest Fr Michael Canney said the family members of the boys, who are originally from Kerala in India, have been living in the area for at least 20 years.

He said that it is "a very sad day" for the area and particularly for the Syro-Malabar community.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Fr Canney said it was his understanding that as many as eight boys cycled from Waterside towards Strathfoyle in "fine weather".

"I understand they decided to ... enter the lough for swimming, which is not an uncommon things for locals to do," he said.

The boys attended the local primary and grammar schools and had received their GCSE results just last week.

Fr Canney said there will be "tremendous shock and grief," but the local community will support the grieving families.

Alliance councillor Rachael Ferguson said she was at the scene last night.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster, she said: "The other boys flagged down a car and some local residents to try and help."

She commended the members of the emergency services and said that she was at the scene at 11.30pm last night and they were still there and very tired at that point.

"It is just so sad this morning to be hearing of two beautiful 16-year-old boys who were out with their friends for a cycle and decided to visit the Lough and tragically lost their lives," she said.

Additional reporting PA