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28 August 2016, 12:47
A major search operation coordinated by HM Coastguard at Camber Sands on Sunday morning has now been called off as the missing swimmer has been identified and found to be safe and well.
A spokesperson for the coastguard said: "There was major reason for concern as this is a dangerous beach and lifeguards were not on yet duty at the time the swimmer was missed.
It's a great relief that this person has been found safe and well."
On Wednesday, five friends, all aged in their teens or 20s, died at the popular beach, prompting the local council to deploy lifeguards on the normally unpatrolled seafront for the rest of the summer holiday.
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: "A member of the public has contacted police and the coastguard at Camber Sands after seeing an abandoned pair of flip-flops next to the sea.
"A female was seen diving into the sea at this location. Officers at the scene are doing coastal checks to see if there are any persons in the sea having difficulty.''
A spokeswoman from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has told Heart: "HM Coastguard has been called out to Camber Sands to search for a suspected missing person.
"A worker in the beach office called the coastguard at 9.26am on Sunday 28 August to report that a woman who had entered the water some 40 minutes earlier did not appear to have returned.
"A search is now under way for the woman, involving Rye and Dungeness Coastguard Rescue Teams, the coastguard helicopter from Lydd, Rye inshore lifeboat, the Dungeness all-weather lifeboat, the independent PETT Rescue lifeboat and the police."
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.
Last Wednesday, 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.
Relatives of some of the men criticised the lack of lifeguards at Camber and suggested they may have stood a chance of survival if the beach had been manned.
Mr Ravi's family said they felt "very angry'' at the lack of response from the authorities following the death of another man, Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz, 19, at Camber last month.
A spokesman for Rother District Council said that, despite there being no lifeguards, there were summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers.