The five men who died in a sea tragedy at Camber Sands were childhood friends who had travelled to the coast together after hearing it was going to be the hottest day of the year, it has emerged.
Nitharsan Ravi, 22, a student at the University of Brighton, was named as one of those who died by his brother Ajirthan Ravi.
The other members of the group were Kurushanth Srtihavarajah, 27, brothers, Kenigan and Kobi Nathan, aged 19 and 22 and their friend Inthushan Sriskantharasa, 23.
Ajirthan said the group, who could all swim, had never visited Camber Sands before, but had decided to make the trip because of the fine weather.
Kurushanth Srithavarajah, who was known as Kuru, had worked for Tesco Express for the past six years and studied at Newham University Centre in east London.
A keen cricketer, he played in the British Tamils League and also played football for the Jaffna Eleven side.
The Nathan brothers were from the Slades Green area of south east London and studied at Bexleyheath Academy.
Ajirthan said: “The five of them went in the car yesterday to Camber Sands on a day trip because they knew it was supposed to be one of the hottest days of the year.
“They hadn’t been before. “My brother could swim just like the rest of them could but because of the strong tide it wore them off easily.
“They drowned because of a lack of stamina from the tidal effect.” He added: “The boys all knew each other since the age of five when they all met playing tabla drums together.
“A five minutes delay caused this death toll I recommend there to be a reliable lifeguard. “A lifeguard could have saved their lives.”
The first three men died despite efforts by medics to save them after being pulled from the sea at about 2.15pm.
Later in the evening, a beach-goer found two bodies and reported another in the water off the beach with no permanent lifeguards on the hottest day of the year.
Nitharsan have driven the group down to the East Sussex beach in his silver VW Golf GTI, which was later found by police parked where they had left it.
Police visited the family on Wednesday evening and asked the family to identify the vehicle.
At the family home in south east London a group of friends and family gathered to commemorate the Brighton University student who was studying aeronautic engineering.
Ajithan said: “My brother was very talented and he was a fantastic sportsman. He excelled in everything he did and was very clever for his age.
“We are really upset. Devastated. He was always trying to better himself and educate himself. “He had this magical magnetic aurora, he was so helpful and selfless.”
Paramedics and police were called to Camber Sands following reports of one man in the sea. Within 20 minutes, they had discovered another two men in difficulty. Despite successfully retrieving the men from the water, all three died later.
Two more bodies were discovered by a member of the public on the beach after the tide receded at around 8pm.
The tragedy means at least 12 people have died in just six days in what is thought to be one of the deadliest periods to have hit Britain’s coastline in recent years.
The deaths come after a Change petition was set up in June by Josie Holloway, a resident from Greatstone, a coastal town around 10 miles away, calling for permanent lifeguards to be placed on Camber Sands.
The petition, which has received more than 4,500 signatures since it was started, said: Camber Sands gets unbelievably busy during summer time. They have beach patrol but no lifeguards… I feel it could save lives.
Witnesses claimed there were patrols on the beach before the tragedy, but no permanent officials.
Beachgoers were urged to stay out of the sea while investigations were carried out. It came as temperatures hit 90F (32C) in some parts of the country.
Witness Charlotte Frederick, 25, told The Telegraph that there were no flags up on the beach suggesting it was unsafe to swim, and added that the water was calm.
“We got here just before 2pm and after we had set up we noticed two people on the beach receiving CPR, then about 10 minutes later we saw another person receiving CPR,” the media executive, from London, said.
“They were just unconscious, the people were doing CPR on them for ages. One was taken away on a rescue truck and then the others were left there and they were still doing CPR on them.
“The water didn’t seem rough at all, it seemed calm. The sea is so shallow there.”
Tara Lopez, who was also on the beach, said the tide was going out when tragedy struck. She added: “I have only been to the beach once before and have noticed the lack of flags but didn’t notice the absence of lifeguards until today. A beach patrol, however, was present and became more present after the incident.”
Another witness, Natalja Taylor, 30, who was on a day trip with her husband, said police were driving up the beach with a loudspeaker urging people to stay out of the sea.
“We were sat on a hill a bit further away and we saw three people being pulled out of the water,” she said. “I think the people who rescued them were regular people, not emergency personnel.
“Police drove on to the beach with a loudspeaker, telling people not to go into the water until further notice. They also taped off a huge chunk of the beach so no one could get near it.
“It’s pretty scary. I’m not sure how it happened. We decided not to go into the sea after seeing warning signs about some kind of fish. It wasn’t particularly windy down there, it was just a hot, sunny beach day.”
An RNLI spokesman confirmed it did not have any lifeguards on the beach. Although they said it was too early to say if this would change, they added: “The location of our lifeguards is under constant review and this latest incident will factor into our planning.”
A Rother District Council spokesman said: “While it’s very upsetting to see two similar, tragic incidents this summer, over the years these kind of incidents are extremely rare and on a fine day around 25,000 people use the beach safely,” he said.
“Although it’s too early to draw any conclusions from this latest incident, in recent years we have seen a change in the make-up of visitors to Camber, including more people from outside the area who are not familiar with the sea and the dangers it can pose.”
Last month 19-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea at Camber Sands.
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 son aged 17.
It also comes after a string of sea tragedies last weekend, which saw seven people, including a father-of-three and a mother and her son killed.
Rudy Bruynius, 33, died after he was washed off rocks into water just off South Fistral Beach near Newquay alongside his wife and daughter last Friday. His wife, Lisinda, survived, but his daughter McKayla, two, later died in hospital.
On Saturday, Julie Walker, 37, and her son Lucas, six, were killed after getting into difficulty in “choppy” water off Aberdeen beach. A 50-year-old swimmer, who has not been named, also died after getting into difficulty just off Sandbanks, a popular beauty spot at the mouth of Poole Harbour.
Windsurfer David Baker, 67, died after being rescued by lifeboats off the coast of West Mersea, Essex, and Joy Godfray, who was in her 30s and got into difficulties while swimming with a man near Green Island in Jersey, took the death toll to seven.
News Source TelegraphNews