Swimmer search launched at Camber Sands days after five deaths


A major search-and-rescue operation has been launched for a swimmer missing at a south coast beach, days after five men died while swimming there.

The RNLI, police and coastguards are involved in the operation at Camber Sands, near Rye in East Sussex, an RNLI spokeswoman said.

On Wednesday, friends, all aged in their teens or 20s, died at the popular beach, prompting authorities to deploy lifeguards on the normally unpatrolled seafront for the busy Bank Holiday weekend.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: "A member of the public has contacted police and the coastguard at Camber Sands after seeing an abandoned pair of flip-flops next to the sea.

"A female was seen diving into the sea at this location. Officers at the scene are doing coastal checks to see if there are any persons in the sea having difficulty."

Up to six RNLI lifeguards were due to be on duty at Camber Sands over the weekend, plus a team giving safety information to beach-goers between Saturday and Monday.

Last Wednesday, Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18, known as Ken, his brother Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan, 22, known as Kobi, both of Normandy Way, Erith, south-east London, and 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 died after visiting the beach.

Relatives of some of the men 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.

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