A 67-year-old woman has died in hospital despite brave attempts to save her after she was swept out to sea.
The woman from Goring was seen by eyewitnesses going into the sea at the mouth of the River Arun at Littlehampton Pier at just after 2.15pm on Saturday.
Police officers, coastguard crew and lifeboat volunteers all rushed to the scene as the woman was carried out to sea by strong currents.
She was pulled out of the water and stabilised before being taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, where she was pronounced dead at just after 9pm on Saturday night.
A coastguard helicopter had been attending to a breach of coastal defences at Pagham before returning to reports of a person in the water at Littlehampton’s west beach.
After being pulled from the water, the woman was taken to Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat Station and a coastguard paramedic was airlifted to the station to help with her treatment before she was taken to hospital.
PC Andy Baynes from Littlehampton Police said: "She was carried out to sea by strong currents.
“A lifeboat crew and HM Coastguard officers were quickly on the scene.
“The RNLI crew pulled her from the rough seas and returned her to shore where she was stabilised before being taken by ambulance to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
"Sadly, she was pronounced dead just after 9pm. Our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time."
A Sussex Police spokesman added: “The 67-year-old woman from Goring has been identified by her family, but has not yet been formally named.
“Her death is not being treated as suspicious and the matter has been passed to the coroner's officer.”
In a statement on their Facebook page, HM Coastguard Littlehampton said: “The Station Manager and the rest of the team at HM Coastguard Littlehampton would like to extend their thanks and say well done to the team at Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat Station for such a quick response to this afternoon’s incident.”
<h4>See the latest crime figures in your area with our street-level crime <a href="http://www.theargus.co.uk/li/crime.in.Brighton/">map</a></h4>