Five men who died in the water off Camber Sands on Wednesday were friends who had arrived to spend the day at the beach together, police have said.

The victims were all in their late teens and early twenties.

They were named as 22-year-old Nitharsan Ravi, Kobi Nathan, 19, and his brother Kenigan Nathan, 22, Kurushanth Anna, 27 and Inthushan Sri.

The brother of Nitharsan Ravi, Ajirthan, told ITV News his family were struggling with their loss.

He said: "It's like a black day for us. Everyone is stone cold, we don't know what exactly to do. We feel like them people are next to us, they are with us, but in the end they lost their lives."

ITV News reporter Sejal Karia said three of the men are thought to work for the same company in London.

A search for a possible sixth missing person has been called off as there are no reports of anyone else involved.

It is believed the five men had been caught up in strong currents in the water.

The first three men died shortly after being lifted from the sea near Rye, East Sussex, at around 2.15pm on Wednesday, despite efforts by paramedics on the popular seafront.

Police patrolled Camber Sands on Thursday Credit: PA
The men died on the hottest day of the year so far Credit: PA

A further two bodies were discovered by a member of the public after the tide receded.

Coastguard officials carried out a search as a precautionary measure over fears there may have been a sixth person in the water, but a spokeswoman today told ITV News the search had been suspended as further information came to light.

Police have said that despite earlier reports, there was "nothing to suggest" the men had been illegally trying to enter the country, and said the men had not been fully-clothed but were "wearing clothes appropriate for being at the beach for the day".

Claims the deaths may have been linked to jellyfish have also been ruled out.

The beach had been teeming with visitors throughout the day - the hottest of the year so far, with temperatures hitting hit 33.9C (93F) at Gravesend in Kent.

It brings the number of deaths of British beaches so far this week to 12.

Camber Sands was full of visitors and day-trippers as the tragedy unfolded Credit: PA

Seven other people died in five separate incidents on Britain's beaches in the past week.

  • Friday August 19: Rudy Bruynius and his two-year-old daughter Mckayla died after he and his family were swept into the sea in Newquay

  • Saturday August 20: Windsurfer and experienced sailor Dave Baker, 67, died after getting into difficulty off the coast of West Mersea, Essex

  • Saturday August 20: Julie Walker, 37, and her seven-year-old son Lucas died after getting into difficulty in Aberdeen

  • Saturday August 20: Joy Godfray, 31, died after being rescued off the coast of Jersey

  • Saturday August 20: A man in his 60s died after getting into trouble in a rip current in Dorset

Last month, 19-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea at Camber Sands.