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  1. ITV Report

Relatives of Camber Sands victims angered over lack of lifeguards

The five young friends from London are understood to have been overwhelmed by strong currents in the water. Credit: ITV News

Relatives of some of the five young men who died at Camber Sands have questioned why more was not done to protect beachgoers following a death at the beach last month.

The father of two of the victims said the group from London would have had a "fighting chance of survival" if lifeguards had been present at the popular sandy beach near Rye, East Sussex.

A team of RNLI lifeguards will be deployed at Camber across the bank holiday weekend.

Satthiyanathan Arumukam said his sons Ken, 19, and Kobi, 21, could not swim.

The brothers died along with friends Inthushan Sri, 23, Nitharsan Ravi, 22, and Kurushanth Srithavarajah, 26, in a failed rescue attempt after two of the group became overwhelmed in the water during a day trip to the beach.

I brought my children from Sri Lanka because it is not safe back there. But there were no lifeguards on the beach where they died. If there had been my sons would have at least had a fighting chance of survival.

– Satthiyanathan Arumukam, speaking to The Sun

Relatives of Mr Ravi said they felt "very angry" at the lack of response from the authorities after last month's fatality.

Clutching her brother's T-shirt, Mr Ravi's sister Mayura said the family felt anger that the stretch of beach where they died had not been blocked off following 19-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz's death.

She said: "Now it's been blocked. Why didn't they do it before? They could have saved five other lives."

A section of the beach has been blocked off after Wednesday's tragedy on Camber Sands. Credit: PA

Mr Ravi's younger brother, Ajirthan, 19, said his brother had died after trying to rescue two of his friends who had become trapped underneath the water.

He said: "Ken and Inthushan got stuck in water. So what they do is the three boys try to save them."

An online petition started a month ago to campaign for lifeguards at Camber has gained more than 6,500 signatures.

A spokesman for Rother District Council said there were summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers.

The temporary RNLI lifeguard service at Camber Sands said the council accepted its offer to provide lifeguards each day of the bank holiday weekend.

A spokesperson said the service's main role was to "reassure the public and advise on safety".

The charity will provide a team of five to six lifeguards and appropriate equipment over the bank holiday weekend, Saturday to Monday (from) 9am to 6pm, on Camber Sands who will work alongside the local authority beach patrol teams.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution offered to provide lifeguards over the weekend and the council accepted our offer.

In addition to the lifeguard service, the RNLI will also be providing a face-to-face team who will be on hand to provide key safety information to all visitors at the beach.

– RNLI spokesperson