Sussex

Camber Sands sea death toll rises to five

Camber Sands rescue Image copyright @Tashka4
Image caption The air ambulance and emergency services were sent to the scene after reports the three were in need of urgent medical assistance

Two more bodies have been found on the beach at Camber Sands, hours after three men were pulled from the water on the hottest day of the year.

A member of the public found the two bodies as the tide receded at about 20:00 BST on Wednesday, the RNLI said.

A search is under way for a third person missing at the East Sussex beach. Lifeboats and a helicopter are combing the water off the coast.

Seven other people have died around the British coastline since Friday.

Richard Tollett, lifeboat operations manager at Rye Harbour, told the Press Association the RNLI received a request to launch at around 20:30.

He said: "As the tide has receded it has left a couple more bodies on the beach in the sand.

"A member of the public found them and that person reported another one in the water so we have got two lifeboats and a helicopter searching the area trying to find the other one."

The first alert came just after 14:10 when coastguard helicopters, a lifeboat, rescue teams and an air ambulance were sent to the scene after reports three men were in need of urgent medical assistance.

The beach was cleared and the public were asked to stay away while the emergency services dealt with the incident.

Suggestions that their deaths may be linked to jellyfish have been ruled out.

Sussex Police stated there was nothing to suggest the men were migrants.

Ch Supt Di Roskilly said: "This has been an incredibly tragic situation. At this stage we are doing all we can to establish who the men are and to identify next of kin."

Image copyright @Tashka4
Image caption The beach was cleared after the incident and the public were asked to stay away
Image copyright PA
Image caption Police said it was not yet known who the three men were

'Incredibly tragic'

Eyewitness Natalja Taylor, 30, said she saw three people being pulled out of the water, apparently by "regular people, not emergency personnel".

"There were so many people there. They were still on the beach when we left," she said.

She said police drove on to the beach with a loudspeaker telling people not to go into the water until further notice, and also taped off "a huge chunk of the beach so no-one could get near it".

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCoastguard helicopters were sent to the scene

She said: "It's pretty scary. I'm not sure how it happened. We decided not to go into the sea after seeing warning signs about some kind of fish.

"It wasn't particularly windy down there, it was just a hot, sunny beach day."

Charlotte Frederick, from London, who saw the rescue operation take place, said: "One was taken away on a rescue truck and the other two were left behind."

She said she realised later that the other two men had also died.

"We saw them take up a blanket and then after that we saw them taken in a body bag. It was really distressing," she said.

Image copyright @PeterOUwaibi
Image caption Coastguards, lifeboat and ambulance teams were all sent to the scene

The incident happened on the hottest day of the year when the beach was packed with people.

Ch Supt Roskilly said: "This has been an incredibly tragic situation and very traumatic for those who were there on the beach at the time."

'Extremely rare' incident

Last month, 19-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea there. He was one of three men who got into trouble in the water.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Beach patrols take place on the beach, the council said
Image copyright PA
Image caption About 25,000 people use the Sussex beach safely on a fine day, according to the council

Camber Sands is a popular destination for beach-goers and Rother District Council provides beach patrols there throughout the summer.

A council spokesman said: "While it's very upsetting to see two similar, tragic incidents this summer, over the years these kind of incidents are extremely rare and on a fine day around 25,000 people use the beach safely."

He said the beach patrols were able to advise people of potential dangers, reunite lost children with their families and deal with incidents on the beach.

"Although it's too early to draw any conclusions from this latest incident, in recent years we have seen a change in the make-up of visitors to Camber, including more people from outside the area who are not familiar with the sea and the dangers it can pose," he said.

He said incidents had included visitors entering the sea even though they could not swim, and in some cases going into the water fully clothed.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites