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Camber Sands: Tributes paid to five victims

POPULAR BEACH: Camber Sands where five men drowned on Wednesday. Inset, one of the drowning victims Nitharsan Ravi MAIN PICTURE: Tom Pugh/PA

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.

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.

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



Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly said: "These men were not fully clothed when they were pulled from the sea, but wearing clothes appropriate for being at the beach for the day.

"We have no further reports of anyone else missing from Camber and there are no ongoing searches related to this incident.

"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."

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

Mr 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 Mr 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."

Mr Bosco described Mr Ravi as a "fun, bubbly guy".

"No-one could say a bad word about him. I saw him two months back in church when we went on a pilgrimage," he said.

"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 Mr 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 Mr Sri, wrote: "We miss you Inthushan - rest in peace."

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."

An online petition started a month ago to campaign for lifeguards at Camber has reached more than 3,600 signatures. Resident Emily Van Eyssen (44) said the need for lifeguards was long overdue.

Speaking outside her home, close to one of the large beach car parks, she said: "It's absolutely crazy that a car park here ... can make over £30,000 a day on a busy beach on a hot day.

"That should be paying for lifeguards that we urgently need."

A spokesman for Rother District Council said that, despite there being no lifeguards, there are summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers, reunite lost children with their families and deal with incidents on the beach.

It is the second serious incident to take place recently at Camber Sands which, with its sand dunes, has long been a popular destination for beach-goers.

Last month 19-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea there.

Mr Da Cruz, who was visiting family in Croydon, south London, was one of three men who got into trouble. The two others, who were not connected to him, included a man aged 35 and his 17-year-old son.

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