The couple, a 48 year-old man and his 39 year-old partner from Alguazas, Murcia, drowned after taking an early morning dip at Els Tossals beach in Guardamar del Segura.
The beach, which is described on the council website as, free from construction and “one of the quietest in the area”, had a red flag flying from its mast – prohibiting bathers from swimming because of dangerous seas.
The 1,6km stretch of sandy beach had no lifeguards on duty at the time the incident happened, about 10am.
The couple, who were regulars in the area and frequent visitors to a nearby campsite, ignored the warning, leaving behind their two children, aged 11 and 16, and a nephew went they went for a swim.
The Red Cross said that they had to carry out 27 rescues on red flagged beaches in that municipality on Wednesday alone and urged beachgoers to respect the flag system.
— Cruz Roja Guardamar (@CRGuardamar) July 19, 2017
Green means it is safe to swim, yellow means don’t swim out of your depth and red prohibits swimming entirely. In some regions, including Valencia, bathers can be fined for ignoring red flags.
According to data published last week by the National Lifeguard Agency (RFSS), 246 people have drowned in Spain so far this year.