5 swept to their deaths on hottest day of year
Thousands weep as bodies are brought ashore at beach
FIVE people died at a popular family beach yesterday and rescuers were looking for another person last night.
Two were found washed up on the shore by a member of the public at 8pm at Camber Sands in East Sussex
Earlier, thousands of horrified sunbathers watched as the bodies of three men were lifted from the sea on the hottest day of the year.
Many were in tears, as parents tried to shield their children from the upsetting sight of the men being recovered.
The deaths on the beach, which attracts 25,000 on a hot day, brought the UK drowning toll to 12 in the last week.
A student, who did not wish to be named, said: “It was horrible – there were so many people crying and families hugging each other.”
Rescuers desperately tried to revive the victims for up to half an hour after being called at 2.10pm, following a report of a swimmer in distress. But soon another person was seen in difficultly at 2.20pm and 15 minutes later a third was brought in – but all three men died at the scene.
The student, from South East London, added that his family had all been looking forward to a lovely afternoon at the beach, as the temperature reached a year-high of 33.9C, in Gravesend, Kent.
He said: “When we got there, there was a lifeguard truck and air ambulance. It was all very scary.
“While the people were doing CPR on the first two people, another person had
to be pulled out of the sea. One of the first two was put into a vehicle and driven away, but they used windbreakers to surround the other two people.
“After about 40 minutes of doing CPR, a doctor must have turned up because they stopped. There was so much crying, it was terrible.”
Bella Sanders, 23, said: “It was absolutely horrible to see, the day was beautiful and everyone was having so much fun and enjoying the weather.
“I can’t understand why it happened, the sea was mostly very calm. But the tide had come in extremely quickly.
“One minute it came up to my daughter’s mid thigh then within two minutes it was up to her shoulders. We left before I could see what happened to them as I couldn’t stop crying, but learnt on the way home all three of them had died. I count myself lucky I arrived home today.”
Another witness, Natalja Taylor, 30, on a day-trip with her husband, said police were driving up the beach with a loudhailer urging people to stay out of the sea. She said: “They also taped off a huge chunk of the beach so no one could get near it. It’s pretty scary. I’m not sure how it happened. We decided not to go into the sea. It wasn’t particularly windy, just a hot, sunny beach day.
“There was a lot of people on the beach, particularly for a weekday.”
The three dead men had not yet been formally identified.
A spokesman for the RNLI said: “Rye Harbour lifeboat has launched to assist in the search for another person in the water. Earlier two bodies were washed up on the beach and found by a member of the public. I don’t have details of their gender or age.”
Last night Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly, talking of the earlier triple tragedy, said: “This has been an incredibly tragic situation and very traumatic for those on the beach at the time. We are doing all we can to establish the identities.”
Six people died last weekend when huge waves battered the British coast.
Among them was tragic dad-of-three Rudy Bruynius, 33, who died after getting into trouble in Newquay, Cornwall, with his family on Friday evening.
His daughter Mckayla Bruynius, two, also passed away after a four-day battle in hospital yesterday, bringing the total to 12.
The five deaths yesterday is the second recent serious incident at Camber Sands.
Last month, 19-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz, who was visiting family in Croydon, South London, died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea there.
DESPERATE Police and rescuers try to save men EMERGENCY Police and ambulances yesterday
TRAGIC SIGHT People see rescue bid yesterday