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Witness says she has been unable to return to a beach after the trauma of Camber Sands

The drowning deaths of seven men, including five young friends, on Camber Sands last summer were through misadventure, a coroner concluded.

Here a witness describes her realisation of the horror unfolding on the beach the day five friends drowned.

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.


25 year-old man charged with murder of Kent woman

A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a woman in Chatham.

Molly Mclaren, who was in her 20s, was found with stab wounds in the dockside area of Maritime Way. She died at the scene.

Joshua Stimpson, 25 of High Street in Wouldham, Rochester, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Murdered woman Molly McLaren Credit: Kent police

He has been remanded in custody and will appear at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday.

Kent Police has referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Coastguard pay tribute to Portland Search and Rescue crews

Today marks the end of the Portland search and rescue helicopter. The base began operating as a civilian service in 1995, providing a 12-hour search and rescue capability that served the western end of Hampshire through to South Wales.

We are immensely proud of all the crews, engineers and support staff who have worked at the Portland SAR helicopter base over the past 22 years. Over that period of time the Portland team has provided lifesaving services to the south of England for which we are hugely grateful.

– Damien Oliver, Assistant Director for Aviation at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
Portland Search and Rescue helicopter Credit: Dr Peter Harriman

A new contract was awarded in 2013 to replace the mixture of military and civilian arrangements. The new service operates from ten bases across the UK using brand new state-of-the-art helicopters that can operate in all weathers and can rescue people from anywhere in the UK, even in the most difficult conditions.

It has been CHC Helicopter’s greatest honour to provide Search and Rescue services on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard.

Over the past ten years, we have worked together with many local agencies ensuring a seamless service which in turn supported our crews to deliver a lifesaving service, of which we are all extremely proud.

As we depart Portland, I would like to thank all those who worked here over the years for their service to the people living and visiting the south coast of England.

– Keith Devaney, UK SAR Portland Base Manager at CHC Helicopters

Large section of cliff falls away in Dorset

Credit: Dorset Police

A large section of cliff has fallen away at West Bay East Beach in Dorset, covering the beach and taking away a section of the cliff path.

Dorset Police says it informed the UK Coastguard of the cliff fall at 8:20am.

West Bay Coastguard Rescue Team are currently on scene, with Dorset Police, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service and the Dorset Local Council.

The area is reported to be very unsafe and signs are being put up warning people to stay away from the area.

The beach from West Bay to Freshwater has been closed until the area can be made safe.

The cliffs along the UK coastline are continually eroding and we’ve seen a number of cliff collapses in recent weeks. It’s impossible to predict when the next piece might fall or how big it will be. It’s very clear that cliffs are very unstable in places and we really can’t stress enough how important it is to keep back from the edge.

There is no ‘safe’ place to be. When standing at the bottom of a cliff, we would always advise people that they shouldn’t stand less than the height of the cliff away.

– UK Coastguard


Fears of residents in housing complex

Councils across the South East are conducting surveys of buildings after the fire tragedy at the Grenfell Tower. In Kent alone, 155 have some sort of cladding.

But concern about fire safety is not restricted to people living in tower blocks and skyscrapers. In Dover, one group of residents say they're terribly worried about what could happen at their housing complex should fire break out. Nashreen Issa reports.

As cladding is removed from tower blocks - some say they should be evacuated

Sprinklers should be fitted in all high-rise buildings in Portsmouth at a cost of up to 10 million pounds.

That's the call from council leaders tonight, as work continues to remove cladding from two residential tower blocks - found to be unsafe - after failing fire safety tests

Work began on Friday to remove cladding from Horatia House and Leamington House - two of Portsmouth's 13 tower blocks.

Some residents think they should be evacuated Richard Slee has the latest here.

No charges for leaseholders in Tower blocks

Council leaders say leaseholders in Evenlode and Windrush Towers will not be charged for the removal of the cladding.

Windrush Tower Credit: ITV Meridian

Details of cladding on all Oxford City Council tower blocks were sent to the Government.

It confirmed they are only testing ACM cladding –which applies to Evenlode and Windrush Towers, and which was identified as a risk.

Other tower blocks will have rain-screen cladding made from non-combustible sheet aluminium, rather than aluminium composite.

The City Council said it had exceeded legal requirements in terms oft he whole safety system in all five tower blocks. Fire safety precautions that have already been undertaken as part of the £20 million tower blocks repairs project are:

  • · Sprinklers in all flats, directly connected tot he Fire Service
  • · Heat and smoke detectors in all flats
  • · Smoke detectors in all communal areas, directlyconnected to the Fire Service
  • · Non-combustible insulation
  • · Fire breaks within the cladding system
  • · Upgraded communal area fire doors and flatentrance fire doors
  • · Automatic venting system to stairwell to removesmoke
  • · Upgraded fire seals to waste chutes

Anyone with questions or concerns about fire safety in the tower blocks can also telephone 01865 249811or email,or attend one of a series of residents meetings.

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