Hundreds mourn the five men who died in the Camber Sands beach tragedy

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Hundreds of mourners have gathered for the funeral of five young friends who died during a day trip to a beach.

Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18, known as Ken, and his brother Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan, 22, known as Kobi, both of Normandy Way, Erith, south-east London, died at Camber Sands, near Rye in East Sussex last month.

Their friends Nitharsan Ravi, 22, of Admaston Road, Plumstead, south-east London, Inthushan Sriskantharasa, 23, of Chadwell Road, Grays, Essex, and Gurushanth Srithavarajah, 27, of Elsa Road, Welling, south-east London, also died.

A Hindu ceremony and petal laying took place at Plumstead Common, south east London.

People speaking on behalf of the grieving families at the dawn service addressed the crowd, mostly speaking in Tamil - the language of the community the boys came from.

Relatives and friends wept as the coffins were carried into marquee tents, before mourners walked around and paid their respects.

Camber Sands funeral
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

What happened was "a big tragedy for the Tamil community", said councillor Krishna Suresh, former mayor of Harrow.

He said that in times like this the community comes together, and also praised the group of tragic friends, saying: "They have done a lot of volunteer work."

Councillor Suresh said that as well as being well educated, the young men - who enjoyed football and cricket - had "lots of extra talents".

Camber Sands funeral
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

Josie Holloway, 20, from Greatstone in Kent, launched a petition on change.org in July - before the friends' tragedy took place - calling for lifeguards on Camber Sands beach during the summer.

The online campaign has more than 8,000 supporters.

Speaking at the funeral about how she felt when she heard of the deaths, Ms Holloway said: "It was obviously really gutting. I thought that it would have prevented it if they had them."

She said there were "up to 30,000ยดยด people on the beach on the day of the drowning.

Camber Sands
(Steve Parsons/PA)

Lifeguards were deployed on the August bank holiday weekend at the popular beach.

The local council accepted an offer from the RNLI to provide a temporary team of up to six lifeguards.

The RNLI also said a team would be on hand to give safety information to all beach-goers between the Saturday and Monday.

Ravi's family have previously said they felt "very angry" at the lack of response from the authorities following the death of another man, Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz, 19, at Camber last month.

Ravi's younger brother, Ajirthan, 19, said: "There wasn't any lifeguards cruising around, because they would have quickly noticed these boys drowning, and could have at least saved their lives."