Essex beaches: Up to 150 beachgoers report feeling ill

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Beachgoers at Frinton beach.
Image caption Despite warnings not to enter the water some beachgoers continued to swim on Monday

Up to 150 people reported feeling ill after visiting beaches on the Essex coast over the bank holiday weekend.

Symptoms affecting beachgoers in Frinton-on-Sea, Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze included breathing difficulties, vomiting and coughing.

Fourteen people were taken to Colchester Hospital after being in the water but no-one was seriously ill.

A spokesman for Tendring District Council said the source of the illness was still unknown.

People first reported feeling unwell at about 14:00 BST on Sunday.

A woman described how her twin daughters were left gasping for breath.

Image copyright Mark Wray/PA Wire
Image caption Police have advised people to keep out of the water

Miriam Lansdell said: “My daughter started coughing. She said, ‘I don’t feel good. It hurts to breathe in’.

“My other daughter was gasping and couldn’t form words because she couldn’t breathe well enough.”

There have been no additional reports of people becoming ill since the initial outbreak of symptoms.

Image copyright Mark Wray
Image caption Tests were taken offshore to find the source of the “irritant” that caused coughing and gasps for breath

Water samples were taken for testing but the results are still pending.

Beachgoers are being advised to stay out of the water until a cause has been established.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said there was no evidence of a fuel spillage from vessels.

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There have been previous cases of people becoming ill on beaches during the summer.

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