Father 'trying to drown children' at Connecticut beach detained by police

A father was stopped by police as he tried to drown two small children at a beach in the US, authorities have said.

An officer had been on patrol in the city of West Haven, Connecticut, when he saw a Nissan SUV parked on the beach at around 2.30am local time (7.30am UK time) on Saturday, police said.

The officer then approached the vehicle and heard "significant screaming taking place from the water", the force added.

West Haven Police Department said that as the officer "continued towards this commotion, it was apparent an adult male and two small children were in the water".

"As the officer entered the water the adult male continued to drift further away with the children all while screaming at the responding officers to 'stay back'," the force added.

Police said it became "obvious at this point" that the man was "deliberately drowning his children".

Responding officers ended up being around 100 yards from the shore as they approached the man and the children.

The first officer to arrive was able to get to the youngsters and other officers helped take them to shore.

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Lifesaving measures were provided to the children and they were taken to a hospital where they remained in intensive care on Saturday, according to police.

The father was in custody on Saturday.

"It is without a doubt the swift response by our patrol officers saved the lives of these children," police said in the statement.

The incident remains under investigation.