Five men who died at UK beach were trapped by rapidly rising tide

"My heart's so sorry about this" - Brother of victim

Five men who died at UK beach were trapped by rapidly rising tide

File photo of police officers on Camber Sands near Rye, East Sussex in England | Image: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Five men who died at a beach in England were caught by a rapidly rising tide and were then unable to swim to shore because of the current, the brother of one has said.

Ajirthan Ravi, whose brother Nitharsan was one of a group of friends who drowned during a trip to Camber Sands in Sussex on Wednesday, said they were taken by surprise.

He said they had gone to the water's edge at the popular beach some way out but the tide suddenly turned.

Although all were good swimmers and tried to swim to the shore, they became trapped by a strong current and became exhausted.

Mr Ravi said: "They walked up to the ocean but a few minutes later the ocean came all the way back (in) so at that...point they were feeling they were going to get drowned."

"From that point they tried to save themselves by swimming...back - they are good swimmers - but the problem is the tide was strong so that they couldn't swim back. They didn't have enough energy to come back in."

"They were stuck in the water. They were driven backwards because of water currents. Because of waves."

"They often went to the beach, especially when the weather was like this. They went to Bournemouth maybe, on a hot day. They didn't expect it would be like this."

"My family cannot believe this has happened. They are speechless. I feel like they are still with me. My heart's so sorry about this. For all of them."

Three of the other four who died have been named as Kenigan and Kobi Nathan, aged 19 and 22, and Inthushan Sri.

'Importance of lifeguards'

Camber Sands is known for its wide, flat beach and is understood to have a number of sand bars which can become cut off when the tide comes in.

Mr Ravi said the police were able to work out who had died because his brother's car was the only one left in the car park at the end of the day.

Emergency services were called to the beach at 2.10pm to reports of a person in difficulty in the sea.

Another victim was spotted while they were at the scene, and a third man was pulled from the water 15 minutes later.

The bodies of a further two men were found in the water between 8.15pm and 8.45pm.

Witness Hannah Chatfield described how she helped drag one of the men out of the water after the alarm was raised.

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 (emergency services) were with the first guy. We were on the beach for about 45 minutes trying to resuscitate him but it didn't work."

Mr Ravi said what happened showed the importance of placing lifeguards at popular beaches such as Camber Sands who have an understanding of the dangers that can occur.

He said: "Only a few minutes delay meant the death toll was five. We strongly recommend to have a...strong, reliable lifeguard system so that they can measure the wind and the wave currents and then predict what can happen."

A spokesman for Rother District Council, which includes Camber Sands, said that while there were no lifeguards, regular assessments were carried out at the beach.

He said: "We are in regular discussion with emergency services and other colleagues to ensure that the measures currently in place are sufficient and identify any additional measures that may need to be taken, either in terms of arrangements at the beach or doing more to educate people of the dangers of the sea."

"Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives."