Two British doctors of Indian origin drowned off the coast in Tenerife while trying to rescue their children.

Uma Ramalingam (42) a consultant obstetrician, and her relative, Bharathi Ravikumar (39) a general practitioner, were holidaying with their children at the resort of Playa Paraiso, on the southwest of the Island.

When the women saw their children, a girl and boy aged 14 and 10, being swept out to sea by a freak wave that hit the rock on which they were playing, they rushed into the ocean to rescue them. However, they got into a difficult patch near a rocky outcrop, media reports quoted witnesses as stating. While the children were rescued, and a third woman, a German tourist, who also swam out to save the children was winched out of the sea by helicopter, the two doctors could not be saved.

The Guardian quoted Adam Cramer, 49, an accountant from Mill Hill, north-west London, who was with his three children at the resort pool, as saying that he heard a woman shouting from near the rocky outcrop near the shore. He ran down to the shore and swam out to the teenager carrying her to safety. The whole tragedy unfolded in the space of 20 minutes. “The waves are very rough, they come crashing in against the rocks. If you are stuck out on one of those, you’re going to struggle to get back,” Mr. Cramer is reported as saying.

Emergency services pressed a helicopter, two ambulances, coastguards and firefighters into the rescue effort. The younger child was taken to hospital with suspected hypothermia, while the 14-year old was treated for minor bruising.

Tributes and condolences have been pouring in from colleagues, friends and patients of the two doctors. Dr. Uma Ramalingam was a popular and well-respected obstetrician at the Royal Oldham Hospital in Manchester. Her first husband, the father of her son, was killed seven years ago in a road accident in Dundee. Her second husband is a surgeon who works in Wrexham, the Manchester Evening News reports. She is originally from Chennai.

Bharathi Ravikumar graduated from the Tamil Nadu Medical University in Chennai in 1994 and registered as a doctor in the UK in 2003. She was a partner at The Heath Surgery at Bracebridge Heath and Lincoln's South Park. Dr. Mohammed ZubairQureshi, Dr. Ashfaq Qureshi and Dr. Rama Srinivasan, partners at the Heath Practice in a statement called Dr. Ravikumar “a hardworking and dedicated GP” and a ‘wonderful colleague and friend for over 3 years.”