A woman and her 7-year-old son got into difficulty in the water earlier today
Police Scotland said earlier they had received a number of calls about people in difficulty in the water off Aberdeen beach at around 4.45pm.
Five people were rescued before being taken to hospital in the city.
Police said a 37-year-old woman and a seven-year-old boy died in hospital.
A 13-year-old boy, a 25-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man are still being treated in hospital.
None have been named and police are understood to be still liaising with next of kin.
Chief Inspector Stewart Mackie said: "This is a very tragic incident which has resulted in a woman and young boy sadly losing their lives - it will undoubtedly bring shock and sadness to the entire city of Aberdeen and further afield.
"As we work with partners to establish the full circumstances of today's events, we urge anyone who witnessed the incident or perhaps have information that could assist, to make contact with Police via 101."
"Given the recent weather conditions we'd urge members of the public to take care, especially when near coastal or beach areas."