FIREFIGHTERS have warned the public after three casualties were pulled from a lake after using "unsuitable" craft.

Appliances from Workington, Keswick and Penrith were called to the rescue at about 6pm on Thursday after witnesses alerted the emergency services.

Swift water rescue and mountain rescue search teams took to the water to search the area. Three casualties were found in the water and transported back to shore. Fire rescue teams then found a further casualty on the island of the lake, who was also taken to safety.

A spokesman for Workington Fire Station said: "Luckily this incident was brought to a successful conclusion thanks to the professionalism of the mountain rescue boat team and a Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service boat team

"This incident could easily have been a tragedy, we urge the public to consider their capabilities - the craft chosen by those rescued was totally unsuitable for this journey. Only one of those rescued had any form of buoyancy aid and none had dry suits on."

The spokesman added that people "do not last long in the water before beginning to suffer cold weather injuries and worse" at this time of year.

"Please think before placing yourself in danger meaning others have to risk their lives to save yours," he added.