LOCAL coastguard officers were sent to give urgent attention during Wednesday’s Camber Sands tragedy.
Wednesday afternoon saw a death toll of six in the south, after five men died at Camber Sands in East Sussex and a man in his 80s drowned after getting into difficulties in the sea off Bognor Regis.
‘The first man was pulled out of the sea unconscious, maybe 20 minutes later a woman came over shouting, and saying there’s more in there.Hannah Chatfield
The Lee-on-the-Solent coastguard helicopter was scrambled to Camber Sands, near Rye, on Wednesday after reports that a group of men had got into trouble.
Three bodies were recovered in the afternoon and another two in the late evening.
And paramedics were called at 4.15pm to Sea Drive in Bognor in response to reports that a man had got into difficulty and had become unwell in the sea.
He was pulled from the sea by members of the public before the ambulance service arrived, and resuscitation attempts were made by a doctor who was among bystanders.
Ahead of the bank holiday weekend, the RNLI has called on all beach-goers to put safety first – after a week that has also seen tragic deaths in Newquay, Kent and Aberdeen.
Steve Instance, RNLI senior lifeguard manager, said: ‘We are expecting beaches across the south to be very busy this weekend as people make the most of the last few weeks of the school holidays.
‘We want people to enjoy our beautiful coastline, but make sure they do it safely.’
‘Conditions can change quickly at the beach, so it is really important to respect the water and take extra care when visiting the coast.
‘If you want to swim or bathe in the sea we would advise you do so at a lifeguarded beach. The red and yellow flags indicate the safest areas to swim and lifeguards keep watch over this area, so if you do get into difficulty raise your arm and call for help.
‘RNLI lifeguards are always happy to answer any questions or advise of any risks, including where any rip currents may be, which can catch out even the most experienced swimmers.
‘If you spot anyone in difficulty at the coast ring 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’
Although it is not yet known for sure, early signs are that the men on Camber Sands may have been cut off by sand bars. The weekend storms may have made the channels deeper than usual.