UPDATE: Police name three Bexleyheath men as victims of Camber Sands beach tragedy
PUBLISHED: 15:22 26 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:33 26 August 2016
Sussex Police believe the group of friends travelled down to East Sussex together on a day out from London
The five victims of the Camber Sands beach tragedy who died on the hottest day of the year have been formally identified - with three of the men from Bexley.
Local men Gurushanth Srithavarajah, 27 of Elsa Road, Welling, Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18, and his brother Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan, of Normandy Way, Erith, died alongside their friends Nitharsan Ravi, 22, and Inthushan Sriskantharasa, 23.
According to their Facebook pages, Mr Ravi and Erith teen Kenugen Saththiyanathan were former Bexleyheath Academy students.
The younger brother of Mr Ravi has questioned authorities for not having a lifeguard on duty, believing his older sibling may have been saved
Nitharsan Ravi’s younger brother, Ajirthan, 19, said: “There wasn’t any lifeguards cruising around, because they would have quickly noticed these boys drowning, and could have at least saved their lives.”
The father of Erith brothers Kenugen and Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan also voiced criticism, saying if there were lifeguards on the beach his sons may have survived.
The 51-year-old told The Sun:“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.”
Mr Ravi’s brother said his brother died after trying to rescue two of his friends who had become trapped beneath the water.
He said: “Ken and Inthushan got stuck in water. So what they do is the three boys try to save them.”
He said attempts failed and Mr Srithavarajah was brought out first and declared dead straight away.
“My bro and Kobi had heartbeats and managed to survive for a few minutes but after first aid they couldn’t recover.”
Both died within 15 minutes after being pulled from the water, he said.
The bodies of Ken and Inthushan were discovered later that evening, he said, adding that he thought they had got their legs caught in the “slippery mud” and sand on the seabed.
Despite paramedics’ efforts to save them the first three men died after being pulled from the sea just after 2pm on Wednesday.
A beach-goer found the bodies of two further men washed up on the beach later that evening.
Friend Charles Bosco, 27, from west London, said he had known Mr Ravi since the age of 10, and described him as a “lovely guy”.
He said: “We are family friends. My mum told me this morning. Obviously yesterday we heard five guys had drowned but we didn’t know it was him and four of his friends. It was a real shock.
Mr Bosco described Mr Ravi as a “fun, bubbly guy”. And he added: “No one could say a bad word about him. I saw him two months back in church when we went on a pilgrimage.
“We go on a pilgrimage to Walsingham for a Tamil festival every year. He is a lovely guy who cares for his family. He is a social guy. Every time I saw him he would immediately come and talk to me.
“Everyone is in shock. People are calling me saying how could it have happened.”
Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly, of Sussex Police, said:
“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.”
A total of 12 people have now died around UK coastline in under a week.