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25 August 2016, 10:40
Sussex Police say they believe the five men who died in the sea at Camber Sands were in their late teens and early 20s and from Greater London.
Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly said the men had come to Camber for a day on the beach together. She said: "These men were not fully clothed when they were pulled from the sea but wearing clothes appropriate for being at the beach for the day.
"We have no further reports of anyone else missing from Camber and there are no ongoing searches related to this incident.
"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.''
It was feared a sixth person was missing but the search operation has now been called off.
The first three men died despite efforts by medics to save them after being pulled from the sea at about 2.15pm on Wednesday. Later in the evening a beach-goer found two bodies and reported another in the water.
One beach-goer said police told her to stay out of the sea due to a rip tide while another, who declined to be named, said: "We noticed when we came here that there were no lifeguards. We had kids here and we were worried about them.''
He said he could not understand how the men had run into difficulties as the sea appeared calm.
"The sea is very shallow for quite a long way,'' he said. "It seems so strange how they got into trouble. There was no waves and no wind.''
A spokesman for Rother District Council said that, despite there being no lifeguards, there are summer patrols to advise people of potential dangers, reunite lost children with their families and deal with incidents on the beach.
"While it's very upsetting to see two similar, tragic incidents this summer, over the years these kind of incidents are extremely rare and on a fine day around 25,000 people use the beach safely,'' he said.
"Although it's too early to draw any conclusions from this latest incident, in recent years we have seen a change in the make-up of visitors to Camber, including more people from outside the area who are not familiar with the sea and the dangers it can pose.''
An online petition started a month ago to campaign for lifeguards on the beach has reached more than 3,600 signatures.
Eyewitness Natalja Taylor, 30, who was 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.
It is the second serious incident to take place recently at Camber Sands, which, with its sand dunes, has long been a popular destination for beach-goers.
Last month, 19-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz died when he got into difficulty while swimming in the sea there.
Mr Da Cruz, who was visiting family in Croydon, was one of three men who got into trouble. The two others, who were not connected to him, included a man aged 35 and his 17-year-old son.
The latest Camber Sands tragedy brings the death toll around Britain's coastline to 12 over the last week, prompting the RNLI to urge seaside visitors to take care and respect the water.
Two-year-old Mckayla Bruynius died at Bristol Children's Hospital on Tuesday night after she was caught by a large wave at Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on Friday.
Her father, Rudy Bruynius, also died after getting into trouble as 13ft (4m) waves lashed the coast amid strong winds and rain.
A mother and son died on Saturday after a rescue operation at Aberdeen beach, while a windsurfer in his 60s died in a Colchester hospital after being rescued off the coast of West Mersea, Essex.
On Sunday, a woman in her 30s died after getting into difficulty while swimming off Jersey, and a man died despite the efforts of medics after getting stuck in a rip current at Sandbanks beach in Poole, Dorset.