Barely a month after the last incident at Camber Sands, one of Britain’s largest and most popular beaches has yet again been the scene of a tragedy, this time even greater than before.
Just after 2pm on Wednesday the emergency services were notified of a person in difficulties in the sea and, within 20 minutes two more people were reported also to be in difficulties. The air ambulance, coastguard helicopter and lifeboat were all alerted and all three were recovered within 30 minutes. All were unconscious and despite the efforts of the medical crews, it proved impossible to resuscitate them and they were declared dead at the scene. The public were asked to leave the beach and to stay away for the rest of the afternoon and evening so that the emergency services could work unhindered.
Later, as the tide receded, two more bodies were found on the sand at 8:15pm and 8:45pm and there was a report of yet another body in the water. However, despite an extensive search by Coastguard helicopter together with Rye, Hastings and Dungeness lifeboats, nothing was found and the search was called off later in the night. Chief Superintendant Di Rosskilly, in charge of operations, said:
“We believe we now know who the men are and that they came to the beach together for the day. We believe they are all in their late teens and early 20s and come from the Greater London area. These men were not fully clothed when they were pulled from the sea but wearing clothes appropriate for being at the beach for the day.
“We have no further reports of anyone else missing from Camber and there are no on-going searches related to this incident.
“This has been an incredibly tragic incident and we are offering their next of kin support at this difficult time and our thoughts are with them.”
The victims were five young Asian men in their late teens and early twenties who lived in the Greater London area and had come down together for a day on the beach. Their swimming proficiency is not known but it is probable that they were not aware of some of the potential hazards of the beach.
So it is not possible to tell what caused the young men to find themselves in difficulties in the first place. There could be a number of reasons and these will doubtless be investigated at the inquest to be held in due course.
The precise number of people on the beach at the time is not known but it can hold – and on a hot summer’s day, often does hold – up to 25,000. There is a Coastguard presence together with a beach patrol to advise and assist people on land and also Operation Radcott – a police beach patrol. (We erroneously said in our report of last month’s incident that this was no longer in place and we are happy to make the correction, here). However, in common with other beaches in the Rother area, (and many others throughout Britain) there are no lifeguards.
Photos: BBC S.E and Sue Mitchell
Image Credits: BBC .