A rescuer grabbed a surfboard and paddled onto a Melbourne, Australia, lake in an attempt to save two men who drowned during a drunken evening swim.

The men - one aged 19 and the other in his 30s - quickly got into trouble in the lake on Redleap Reserve at Mill Park last night.

Witnesses were heard screaming for help, including a man who jumped into the water and began frantically searching for the men.

Neighbour Nathan Henderson heard the panicked calls, and helped police try to save the men. "A police officer arrived and jumped in. So I sprinted home, grabbed a surfboard so we had something to float on ... and then we started searching the lake," he told Nine News.

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The Herald Sun reports three police officers who arrived first on the scene spent minutes in the water trying to find the pair before a full-scale search began.

The mens' bodies were pulled from the water last night.

Friends and family of the 19-year-old victim were reportedly there as rescuers recovered his body.

Henderson said the man who tried to save his friends was "hysterical". He told Nine News: "He was just rolling on the floor, crying, and just devastated".

Senior Sergeant Mark Smith said the men were affected by alcohol.

"Unfortunately because of the effects of alcohol, two of them have got into trouble while swimming across the lake," he said at the scene.

The lake's visibility is poor and the water is extremely deep, with a layer of floating mould and debris, according to Henderson.

Residents in the Mill Park community have expressed their grief on social media.

"This is so terribly sad for their families and the community. The innocence of the lake is now tainted by the memory of these poor mens' deaths," one woman wrote.

- AAP