Camber Sands was swarming with members of the emergency services on Monday (April 24) as they took part in a multi-agency rescue exercise, headed up by HM Coastguard.
The exercise took place amid sand dunes at the popular resort, replicating a dangerous scenario in which someone digging a deep hole in the sand is suddenly buried when the sides cave in.
A dummy replaced an actual victim, but in all other respects of the drill, emergency teams were confronted with a situation in which speed and technique are of the essence.
Sergeant Dave Townsend, of Rye Police, said: “From experience we know that every second is vital in a case such as this.
“Suffocation, the sheer weight of the sand or a combination of both can quickly turn a fun day on the beach into a tragedy.
“We want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared and working together should such an incident occur in future.
“It also enables the various personnel involved to get to know one another and understand exactly what their respective roles are.”
Matt Pavitt, Coastguard coastal operations area commander, said: “This familiarisation training exercise is part of regular and ongoing training that is carried out by the Coastguard and its partners across the UK every year.”
Those involved in the exercise included HM Coastguard, Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) crews, South East Coast Ambulance Service paramedics, Rother District Council coastal officers and seasonal beach patrols and newly-installed Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeguards.
The drill coincides with the Chief Fire Officers Association Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week (April 24-30).
Since July 2016, nine people have drowned in incidents in East Sussex – including seven people who lost their lives at Camber Sands last summer.
All week ESFRS has held a series of events across the county to mark the week.
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