Camber lifeguard review ‘underway’ after deaths

The air ambulance at Camber Sands on August 24 - five friends from London died in the water that day
The air ambulance at Camber Sands on August 24 - five friends from London died in the water that day

A review is underway into whether lifeguards should be deployed at Camber Sands after six people died in the sea over the summer.

Thousands signed a petition calling for lifeguards during the summer as there were none on the beach other than council response teams.

A 19-year-old Brazilian man died while swimming in July and five friends on a day trip from London died exactly one month later.

A Rother District Council (RDC) spokesman said it was looking at ‘all the options’ as part of its review, including having lifeguards, but a decision is yet to be made.

“In light of recent tragic events and the changing profile of visitors to the beach, we are in the process of reviewing and considering all options for next year – including the provision of a lifeguard service,” the spokesman said.

“We will work closely with all relevant partners, including the police, coastguard, RNLI and SECAmb (South East Coast Ambulance Service), to assess the options before a decision is made.”

The RNLI provided lifeguards for the rest of the summer season after the tragedies and a spokesman said it is in discussion with the council for a 2017 service.

RDC has come under increasing pressure to introduce lifeguards at the beach following this summer’s tragedies.

Gustavo Silva Da Cruz, a 19-year-old man from Brazil, died after getting into difficulty in the water on July 24, and a father and son from London were also rescued.

The Brazilian had been visiting family in Croydon before making the journey down to Sussex.

A petition calling for the introduction of lifeguards was launched following his death, with it reaching more than 8,000 signatures after the five friends died a month later.

Kurushanth Srithavarajah, aged 27, Kobinathan Saththiyanathan, 22, his brother Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18, Inthushan Sriskantharasa, 23, and Nitharshan Ravi, 22, died on August 24.

They had travelled together from London to Camber for the day when they got into difficulty in the water.

The family of Nitharshan Ravi, who studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Brighton, criticised the lack of lifeguards on the beach.

Nitharshan’s uncle, Kugan Gianarathinam told the Daily Telegraph: “There needs to be more lifeguards at Camber Sands.

“They say it’s one of the safest beaches in Britain but it’s a lie, Nitharsan and his friends are dead.

“They also need to put up more signs warning of the dangers. It is not safe for anybody.”

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