Camber Sands deaths: Council approves summer lifeguards

Image caption, The council said safety at the popular sandy beach was under "constant review"

Lifeguards will patrol a popular beach on the South Coast this summer after seven men drowned last year.

The patrols at Camber Sands in East Sussex will be funded with £51,000 allocated by Rother District Council as part of its annual budget.

Councillor Sally-Ann Hart said the council needed to act after the "significant and unprecedented" deaths.

Families of the men who drowned said a lifeguard service could have saved their lives.

Five men died during a day-trip to the beach last August. A month earlier, two others also lost their lives.

The council said the beach attracted more than one million people each year.

'Dangers of the sea'

It said lifeguards would be present from the late May bank holiday until the end of the summer holidays "to offer reassurance" to visitors.

Speaking after a council meeting on Monday night, Mrs Hart, the cabinet member for tourism, said: "Our thoughts remain with the families of those who lost their lives.

"The incidents were significant and unprecedented and we need to react to the changing circumstances.

"We not only need to protect the visiting public, but also the economy and livelihoods of our coastal tourism businesses."

Image source, PA
Image caption, Normally about 25,000 people use the Sussex beach safely on a fine day, according to the Rother District Council

However, she stressed the importance of "people from all communities across Britain being better informed" on beach and water safety before they visit.

She said: "[The beach] can never be completely risk-free but we are committed to investing in our beach patrol, the lifeguard service and working with other agencies to ensure visitors to the beach are aware of the dangers of the sea."

Full inquests into the deaths are awaited. The council said it would act on any recommendations the coroner might make.

Deaths at Camber Sands

Five men from south-east London died on 24 August:

  • Brothers Kenugen and Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan, 18 and 22, from Erith
  • Nitharsan Ravi, 22, from Plumstead
  • Inthushan Sriskantharaja, 23, from Grays
  • Kurushanth Srithavarajah, 27, from Welling

Two others lost their lives in July:

  • Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz, 19, died after he got into difficulty on 24 July
  • Mohit Dupar, 36, from Hayes, west London, died in hospital four days later after trying to rescue him

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