Camber Sands beach tragedy inquest to examine deaths of five friends

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An inquest is due to open into the deaths of five young friends who drowned during a day trip to a popular south coast beach last summer.

The men, who all lived in the London area and were of Sri Lankan origin, ran into difficulties at Camber Sands beach, near Hastings, East Sussex, on August 24 last year.

They were Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18, known as Ken, and 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.

About a month before the tragedy, two other people also lost their lives at Camber. Mohit Dupar, 36, from Hayes, west London, tried to reach Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz, 19, as he got into difficulty but both men died.

The circumstances surrounding their deaths will also be considered as part of the inquest into the five friends' loss of life.

An inquest into Mr Dupar and Mr Da Cruz's deaths was adjourned last November by East Sussex senior coroner Alan Craze.

Rother District Council agreed in February to allocate £51,000 in its 2017/18 budget to bring in seasonal lifeguard cover following demands for safety to be increased at Camber, which can attract up to 30,000 day-trippers during peak season.

Council officials have said the beach, which is three miles long (4.8km) and nearly half a mile (700m) wide at low tide, can never be completely risk-free but they were determined to boost safety.

Four lifeguards will patrol Camber Sands Central from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week until October 1. A further two lifeguards will patrol Camber Sands West during the same times from July 8 to September 10.

In previous years, the council provided a beach patrol service to help with tasks including reuniting lost children with their parents.

This year's RNLI lifeguards will work alongside the beach patrol following a formal request from the council.

The inquest, to be held at Muriel Matters House on Hastings seafront, is expected to last at least a week.