Essex beach-goers are being told to stay out of the water again today as investigations continue into what left people vomiting and gasping for breath.
Dozens of panicked families shared their horror yesterday at having coughing fits and a tight burning sensation in their chests after getting out the sea in Frinton, Walton and Clacton.
Thousands had gathered to soak up the record-breaking temperatures when shortly after 2pm, emergency services were called as people struggled to breathe.
Many grabbed their belongings, wrapped their poorly children in towels and made a hasty exist as they feared a toxic smog had engulfed the area.
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Some also reported an odd smell with mum Kirsty Waddell telling Mirror Online that her nine-year-old son fell ill after a jet ski went by wafting what appeared to be diesel.
Kirsty said: "My son started coughing quite badly just as a jet ski went past, there was an extremely strong smell of what I thought was diesel and I said let’s get out of the water.
"We went to the back of the beach where my son continued to cough violently and complained that his lungs hurt and had trouble breathing. This continued for about an hour."
Yvonne Frankl, was on a day trip with her family at Holland Beach near Frinton when the "distressing" ordeal unfolded.
She told the Mirror: "At around 2pm a little boy next to us started coughing violently. I thought it was strange as it is not the flu season now. He coughed so violently that he was sick on the promenade.
"My daughter had been complaining that she could taste gasoline in the water but we didn’t think too much about it. At around 2.30pm my daughter started coughing and then the rest of our family."
Yvonne, who still has throat and nose irritation from yesterday, added: "There was an awful haze in the sky and a strong stench of gasoline.
"When all the people (adults included) around us started coughing, we decided to leave the beach."
Dad David Murphy was at Frinton with his wife and two children aged four and six when they all experienced breathing difficulties.
"My son was also retching," he said. "We had to rinse his eyes out as he was complaining of sore eyes. He was rinsing his mouth out continually for a few minutes.
"I noticed a haze in the air with visibility poor in the distance."
When David and his family returned home they phoned 111 and were advised to go to A&E to be checked over.
He added: "The doctors didn’t know what the cause was but mentioned carbon dioxide poisoning a couple of times."
Grandmother Pamela Le Vack, from Hertford, was with her 12-year-old granddaughter at Jaywick Beach when the youngster began struggling to breath.
"She started to cry so we packed up and quickly got on the road to go home," said Pamela. "Her breathing was getting worse so we went to Colchester hospital.
"It was frightening to have to rush her to hospital."
Jacob Sowman also spent the day at Frinton with three friends and suffered shortness of breath.
He added: "We were all coughing after playing a enjoyable game of foot cricket on the beach then went in the sea and experienced a wheezy feeling in chest when breathing in deeply.
"We noticed a lot of other people on the beach breathing, especially children. On way home we have seen two ambulances, three unmarked police and one fire engine.
"My chest is still tight and wheezy when breathing out deeply. Also hurts to yawn which makes me cough."
Tendring Council confirmed a number of people were taken to hospital in a stable and non-life-threatening condition.
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