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Camber Sands search called off after swimmer found safe and well

Published 28/08/2016

Police officers on Camber Sands after five men died after being pulled from the sea on the hottest day of the year
Police officers on Camber Sands after five men died after being pulled from the sea on the hottest day of the year

A major search-and-rescue operation was sparked after a female swimmer was reported missing off a beach, days after five men died there.

Three lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and police officers were all involved in the operation at Camber Sands, near Rye in East Sussex.

It was prompted by a call from a worker in the beach office just before 9.30am who reported "a woman who had entered the water some 40 minutes earlier did not appear to have returned", the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

Sussex Police added it was contacted by a member of the public " after seeing an abandoned pair of flip-flops next to the sea" and a woman diving into the water.

However, the operation was called off around noon on Sunday after the swimmer was found safe and well.

An MCA spokesman said: "There was major reason for concern as this is a dangerous beach and lifeguards were not on yet on duty at the time the swimmer was missed.

"It's a great relief that this person has been found safe and well."

On Wednesday, friends all in their teens or 20s died at the popular beach, prompting authorities to deploy lifeguards on the normally unpatrolled seafront for the busy bank holiday weekend.

Kenugen Saththiyanathan, 18, known as Ken, his brother Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan, 22, known as Kobi, both of Normandy Way, Erith, south-east London, and 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 died after visiting the beach.

Up to six RNLI lifeguards were due to be on duty at Camber Sands over the weekend, plus a team giving safety information to beach-goers between Saturday and Monday.

Sussex Police said a woman matching the description of the swimmer - white with dark hair and wearing a black swimming costume - contacted the RNLI at about 11.45am.

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