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VIDEO REPORT: Thousands mourn friends who died at Camber sands beach trip

VIDEO: Watch Rags Martel's video report from the funeral below:

Rags spoke to family friends Thivyaa Gangathanran, Niro Thavarajah and Sanju Ganesan.

Mourners carry one of the coffins early this morning Credit: PA

Hundreds of mourners have gathered for the funeral of five young friends who died during a day trip to a beach.

Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18, known as Ken, and his brother Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan, 22, known as Kobi, both of Normandy Way, Erith, south-east London, died at Camber Sands, near Rye in East Sussex last month.

Credit: ITV Meridian

Their friends Nitharsan Ravi, 22, of Admaston Road, Plumstead, south-east London, Inthushan Sriskantharasa, 23, of Chadwell Road, Grays, Essex, and Gurushanth Srithavarajah, 27, of Elsa Road, Welling, south-east London, also died.

A Hindu ceremony and petal laying took place at Plumstead Common, south east London.

Following the deaths, relatives of some of the men criticised the lack of lifeguards at Camber Sands, and suggested they may have stood a chance of survival if the beach had been manned.

Credit: PA

People speaking on behalf of the grieving families at the dawn service addressed the crowd, mostly speaking in Tamil - the language of the community the boys came from.

MP for Eltham Clive Efford also spoke briefly, saying: "Questions need to be asked about how we arrange safety on our beaches."

Sai Yoghananthan, from the Camber Sands Boys Funeral Committee, said: "Nothing like this can ever happen again."

Credit: PA

Relatives and friends wept as the coffins were carried into marquee tents, before mourners walked around and paid their respects.

What happened was "a big tragedy for the Tamil community", said councillor Krishna Suresh, former mayor of Harrow.

He said that in times like this the community comes together, and also praised the group of tragic friends, saying: "They have done a lot of volunteer work."

Councillor Suresh said that as well as being well educated, the young men - who enjoyed football and cricket - had "lots of extra talents".

The men played sport with the Jaffna 11 club which plays cricket in the British Tamil Cricket League.

Credit: PA

Josie Holloway, 20, from Greatstone in Kent, launched a petition on change.org in July - before the friends' tragedy took place - calling for lifeguards on Camber Sands beach during the summer.

The online campaign has more than 8,000 supporters.

Speaking at the funeral about how she felt when she heard of the deaths, Ms Holloway said: "It was obviously really gutting. I thought that it would have prevented it if they had them."

She said there were "up to 30,000" people on the beach on the day of the drowning.

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