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Camber Sands tragedy: exclusive interview with lawyer

A year ago teenager Gustavo Silva Da Cruz drowned at Camber Sands in Sussex - the first of SEVEN deaths there last summer.

In an exclusive interview with ITV Meridian, the lawyer representing the families of the victims told us legal action against Rother District Council is still a possibility.

Barrister Patrick Roche says it is 'shocking' that there were no life guards on duty. Fred and Sangeeta link to a report by John Ryall.

Camber Sands: Fred's exclusive interview with council leader

Their deaths were recorded as a terrible accident. Yet questions remain over the drowning of seven men at Camber Sands in July and August last year.

The inquests concluded misadventure. But the victims' families feel more could have been done to warn swimmers of the dangers. They are now considering legal action.

Rother District Council has, this year, agreed to pay for RNLI lifeguards at Camber. They'd previously decided against them. Fred spoke exclusively to the council leader - councillor Carl Maynard - who said he was unavailable for interview after Friday's inquest verdicts.

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Camber Sands: Coastal officer warned of dangers

Former coastal control officer for Rother District Council, Patrick Meyer, resigned "in disgust" over cuts to his beach safety budget - after a long and bitter battle to secure a lifeguarding service for Camber.

He says he always knew Camber Sands ''was the most dangerous beach on the south coast of England.''

We interviewed him in Toronto. He described Camber Sands as a beach with multiple hidden dangers.

Camber Sands victim died helping stranger

36-year-old Mohit Dupar was swimming with his son at Camber Sands last July, when he tried to help a stranger struggling to stay afloat in the sea.

The man in trouble was 19-year-old Gustavo Silva Da Cruz.

Mr Dupar was unable to save the teenager who drowned.

Mohit Dupar was pulled from the sea and passed away in hospital four days later. His death and bravery were unknown to the public for three months until it was discovered by ITV Meridian.

His son, 18-year-old Ankush Dupar almost died too. In this exclusive report, he speaks to our Correspondent Derek Johnson.

Coastal officer resigned ''in disgust'' over budget cuts

49 people gave evidence to this week's inquest into the seven deaths at Camber Sands last summer.

But there was a potential 50th witness.

Patrick Meyer was a coastal control officer for Rother District Council for 12 years until he resigned "in disgust" over cuts to his beach safety budget - after a long and bitter battle to secure a lifeguarding service for Camber.

He could not attend the inquest because after resigning he returned to his native Canada.

Had he given evidence he would have been the council's fiercest critic.

We interviewed him in Toronto. He described Camber Sands as a beach with multiple hidden dangers.

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Hidden dangers - how the Camber victims died

A central question for the inquest was exactly how the men died. An oceanographer told the court the five friends had gone far out onto a sandbank.

As the tide rapidly swept back in, they may have panicked - the water colder and deeper than they'd expected.

Their deaths, plus two others last year, made Camber statistically the most dangerous beach in our region, as Malcolm Shaw reports.

Camber Sands: RNLI statement

The RNLI have released a statement following today's inquest verdict on the seven deaths at Camber Sands.

RNLI at Camber Sands Credit: ITV Meridian

The events at Camber Sands last July and August were very tragic. Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of the seven men who sadly lost their lives.

As a charity with a focus on saving lives at sea and preventing drowning, we have a strategic aim to halve accidental coastal drownings by 50% by 2024. We are pleased to see the Coroner has recognised the importance of beach safety and the need to focus on collaborative working to do more to raise people’s awareness of water safety and to ensure all appropriate safety measures are in place.

Sadly we cannot guarantee a tragedy like this will never happen again.There is currently no statutory requirement for local authorities and landowners to provide lifeguards. We are more than happy to give advice and make recommendations concerning beach safety matters from signage to a lifeguard service. It is then up to others to decide if our recommendations are implemented. We therefore welcome the Coroner’s decision to write to central Government with his recommendations.

We have been providing advice for Rother District Council over the last few years and this summer we have provided a seasonal lifeguard service at Camber Sands. Our highly trained lifeguards are working alongside the current council beach safety patrol team to talk to beach visitors in an attempt to prevent incidents like this from happening again. This is just one of over 240 RNLI lifeguarded beaches in the UK and Ireland and we will continue to work with our partners including those involved with the National Water Safety Forum to reach as many people as we can in order to prevent downing and emphasise the message to respect the water.''

– Darren Lewis, Lifesaving Manager RNLI

For anyone wanting to learn more about how they can keep themselves safe when visiting the beach please visit www.respectthewater.com

Coroner calls for review into risk assessments

Senior coroner Alan Craze, announced he will be sending off a prevention of future deaths letter to figures, including the Transport Secretary, highlighting concerns including over the control of risk assessments.

"There are possible lesson in the circumstances of and the issues surrounding these deaths, which may be of help to others on a national basis.

There appears to be no formal governance or control of risk management requirement. Should the present voluntary structure be re examined?

Could the MCA be given more resources and take a bigger role that they currently have?

Is leaving everything to a charity really the best structure?

Inevitably resource and monetary considerations effect decision making by those charged with safeguarding the people, such as those who lost their lives here. Perhaps that’s another reason why a review is needed.

– Alan Craze, Senior Coroner
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