Tributes paid to the five men who died in Camber Sands beach tragedy


Tributes have been paid to five young men who died in a sea tragedy during a day-trip at a popular beach on the hottest day of the year.

Three of the men were pulled out of the sea at Camber Sands, near Rye, East Sussex, on Wednesday afternoon and two others later that evening when the tide receded.

Friends of the men spoke of their disbelief at their deaths as locals voiced anger that the beach, which attracts thousands during the summer, is not manned by lifeguards.

Police at Camber Sands
(Gareth Fuller/PA)

Four of the five men - who are aged in their late teens and early 20s and from London - have been named locally as Nitharsan Ravi, Inthushan Sri, and Kobi and Ken Nathan.

At least 50 family members and friends of Ravi came to share their grief in the family's living room, spilling out onto the street outside.

While his parents were too distraught to speak, his mother's cousin Mira Lawrence paid tribute to the 22-year-old.

Clutching the last T-shirt her brother wore, Ravi's younger sister Mayura sobbed as she remembered how her older brother always looked out for her.

The 17-year-old said: "He was very protective. Even two, three weeks ago he was telling me not to wear certain types of dresses because he didn't like it.

"I just want him back because it just feels like a dream. It doesn't feel real."

Nitharsan Ravi

Ravi, originally from Plumstead, south-east London, had studied at the University of Brighton, according to his Facebook page.

Friend Charles Bosco, 27, from west London, said he had known Ravi since the age of 10, and described him as a "lovely guy".

He said: "We are family friends. My mum told me this morning. Obviously yesterday we heard five guys had drowned but we didn't know it was him and four of his friends. It was a real shock.

"We went to Tamil school together and we always bumped into each other. My mum has gone to visit his family now. They have gone to Woolwich to give support."

Nitharsan Ravi

Bosco described Ravi as a "fun, bubbly guy". And he added: "No one could say a bad word about him. I saw him two months back in church when we went on a pilgrimage.

"We go on a pilgrimage to Walsingham for a Tamil festival every year. He is a lovely guy who cares for his family. He is a social guy. Every time I saw him he would immediately come and talk to me.

"Everyone is in shock. People are calling me saying how could it have happened."

In tribute to Sri, Ranu Kumar wrote on Facebook: "Was one of the best genuine, one of my closest cousins in UK."

Mayu Mayuran, a Sri Lankan who told the Press Association he was related to Sri, wrote: "We miss you Inthushan - rest in peace."

Police at Camber Sands
(Gareth Fuller/PA)

The five men had gone to the coast for a day trip, according to Sussex Police, as investigations continued in to what caused their deaths.

Hannah Chatfield helped drag one of the men out of the water after the alarm was raised while she was on the beach with her family.

She said: "The first man was pulled out of the sea unconscious, maybe 20 minutes later a woman came over shouting, and saying there's more in there.

"Me and my boyfriend went to get him because the lifeguards were with the first guy. We were on the beach for about 45 minutes trying to resuscitate him but it didn't work."

It was feared a sixth person was missing, but there was no search operation on Thursday and day-trippers were continuing to arrive on the beach.

Rudy Bruynius and daughter Mckayla
(Family Handout/PA)

The latest Camber Sands tragedy brings the death toll around Britain's coastline to 12 over the last week, prompting the RNLI to urge seaside visitors to take care and respect the water.

Two-year-old Mckayla Bruynius died at Bristol Children's Hospital on Tuesday night after she was caught by a large wave at Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on Friday.

Her father, Rudy Bruynius, also died after getting into trouble as 13ft (4m) waves lashed the coast amid strong winds and rain.

A mother and son died on Saturday after a rescue operation at Aberdeen beach, while a windsurfer in his 60s died in a Colchester hospital after being rescued off the coast of West Mersea, Essex.

On Sunday, a woman in her 30s died after getting into difficulty while swimming off Jersey, and a man died despite the efforts of medics after getting stuck in a rip current at Sandbanks beach in Poole, Dorset.