The devastated boyfriend of one of the British women swept out to sea while on holiday in Spain said he does not know how to break the tragic news to her two children.
Mother-of-two Lisa Coggins and her friend Tracey Aston have been named in reports as the two women who died in the Mediterranean as it was hit by four-metre large waves.
They and three friends had been posing for pictures on the beach at Lloret de Mar - a popular resort on the Costa Brava where they had been enjoying a holiday - when tragedy struck in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Locals said one of the women had ignored warnings not to go in the sea and gone for a late night swim with another of her friends. But she got into trouble in the rough waters.
The other then dived in after her but they were both swept out to sea off the coast.
Post-mortem investigations into how the pair died are expected to begin today.
Speaking from his home in Birmingham, Ms Coggins' boyfriend Mario Sassano, 36, told the Birmingham Mail she was with her sisters and her friend when tragedy struck.
He said: "She had two children. We do not know how the news will be broken to them."
He paid tribute to his girlfriend, describing her as a "hardworking girl - just beautiful".
Mrs Aston's husband Aaron said he was "devastated".
Locals said a security guard at a beachfront bar saw the women as they posed for pictures and warned them not to go in the sea.
A man who works with the security guard at the bar said: "He saw them in the sea taking photos and then called the cops.
"Of course he is very shaken up by what he has seen."
A restaurant worker who gave his name only as Paco said: "The waves were four metres, they came all the way to the beach bars.
"A night watchman at one of the bars spoke to the girls. He said not to go swimming, but two girls went swimming.
"One of the girls returned but one did not, she got into problems in the water. Her friend went in to try to save her and she did not come back."
Rock Badfrozien, from Catalan Police, said the sea "was in very bad condition" and a red flag was on the beach.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of two British nationals who had been reported missing in Lloret de Mar on October 1.
"We are providing support to the families and those who were travelling with the individuals at this difficult time."
Salvamento Maritimo, the Spanish search and rescue team, said the bodies of the women, believed to be aged 33 and 36, had been taken to the neighbouring town of Blanes, 40 miles north of Barcelona.
Mr Badfrozien said their bodies were found by a helicopter at 12.30pm one mile off the coast of Lloret de Mar. They were retrieved from the sea by a rescue boat half an hour later.
They are now being held at a medical centre and post-mortem examinations are expected to take place tomorrow, he said.