Lifeguards on bank holiday patrol at Camber Sands after beach deaths

Lifeguards will be deployed this bank holiday weekend at the popular beach where five young friends died during a day trip to the coast.

Council officials said the temporary RNLI lifeguard service at Camber Sands, near Rye in East Sussex, is designed to "reassure the public and advise on safety".

The development follows the deaths on Wednesday of five men, named locally as Inthushan Sri, 23, Nitharsan Ravi, 22, Kurushanth Srithavarajah, 26, and brothers Kobi Nathan, 21, and Ken, 19, all from London.

Relatives of some of the men have criticised the lack of lifeguards at Camber and suggested they may have stood a chance of survival if the beach had been manned.

Mr Ravi's family 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.

And Mr 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."

Ken and Kobi Nathan's father, Satthiyanathan Arumukam, 51, of Erith, south-east London, told The Sun: "I brought my children from Sri Lanka because it is not safe back there.

"But there were no lifeguards on the beach where they died. If there had been, my sons would have at least had a fighting chance of survival."

A spokesman for Rother District Council said that, despite there being no lifeguards, there were summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers.

In recent years, Camber has attracted people from outside the area who were unfamiliar with the sea and the dangers it poses, he added.

An online petition started a month ago to campaign for lifeguards at Camber has now reached more than 6,800 signatures.

Local resident Emily Van Eyssen, 44, said money raised through car parking charges at Camber should fund lifeguards there throughout the summer.

The five men had gone to the coast for a day trip from London.

Mr Ravi's brother said his brother died after trying to rescue two of his friends who had become trapped beneath the water.

He said: "Ken and Inthushan got stuck in water. So what they do is the three boys try to save them."

He said attempts failed and Mr Srithavarajah was brought out first and declared dead straight away.

"My bro and Kobi had heartbeats and managed to survive for a few minutes but after first aid they couldn't recover."

Both died within 15 minutes after being pulled from the water, he said.

The bodies of Ken Nathan and Mr Sri were discovered later that evening, he said, adding that he thought they had got their legs caught in the "slippery mud" and sand on the seabed.

Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly, of Sussex Police, said: "This has been an incredibly tragic incident and we are offering their next of kin support at this difficult time and our thoughts are with them."

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