At least three people have died in France as a heatwave likened to ‘hell’ sweeps across much of Europe.
Temperatures have soared to at least 41°C in some parts of southern France, with a record high of 45°C expected in the southern towns of Nîmes and Carpentras on Friday.
The so-called Saharan Bubble weather has been linked to the deaths of three swimmers at beaches in France.
A man, aged 70, suffered a heart arrest in the sea and was believed to have been a victim of ‘thermic shock’ after coming into contact with the water.
Two other people died in similar circumstances.
A woman, 62, died at a beach near Montpellier, and a man aged 75 also died at another beach nearby.
French health officials warned people should not swim in water that is too cold during the heatwave to avoid instances of so-called ‘hydrocution.’
Swimmers are being advised to make sure they enter the water gradually.
Forecasters have predicted France may experience its hottest June on record.
The heatwave, described as ‘potentially dangerous’ by weather experts, has been caused by hot air moving north from Africa.
It has prompted warnings from other countries, including a yellow warning in parts of Spain and Portugal, and a risk of forest fires in Germany.