Tributes are being paid to the five men who died at Camber Sands on Wednesday, with one of the group of friends being remembered as “one of the good guys in life”.
The men, who were all in their late teens or early 20s, were visiting the Rye, East Sussex, beach on a day trip from London when the tragedy unfolded.
Emergency services were alerted shortly after 2pm to a “person in the water” and within six hours, rescuers had recovered five bodies.
Police are yet to release the names of the deceased, but they have been named locally as Nitharsan Ravi, 22, Inthushan Sriskantharasa, 23, Kobi Nathan, 22, his brother Ken Nathan, 19, and Kurushanth Srithavarajah, 27.
Nitharsan Ravi was named by friends on social media as one of the victims.
A friend of Ravi’s, Charles Bosco, told Sky News that he met him at a Tamil school when they were both children.
“Nitharsan was a really nice guy, very caring with his family.
“He was one of the good guys in life, always positive.”
Bosco, a banker from London and a close friend of Ravi, wrote on Facebook: “RIP Nitharsan Ravi. Can’t believe to hear the news that you were one of the boys at Camber Sands. You were truly a good person with a good heart. You are going to be missed on this earth.”
It has also been reported that three of the men worked for the same London company. Ravi’s Facebook profile says he worked at Tesco.
Friend Thujee Jay tweeted: “Why did God take 5 lives at once. RIP Nitharsan, Kuru, Kobi, Kenny and Indhusan. Can’t believe you are all gone.”
The Mirror quoted one of Nitharsan’s cousins as saying his family were still awaiting formal identification of his body, but believed he was among the victims.
The relative, who was not named, said: “Yeah we think it’s him. He hasn’t been formally identified yet - we’re still waiting for that - but the police have contacted us and we think it’s him.
“We’re not really sure about anything at the moment. We literally just found out today.”
The Mail said witnessed have said the friends may have been cut off by the tide while playing football on a sand bar. The men were all thought to be poor swimmers, it said.
It has also been suggested that the group could have fallen victim to a powerful riptide, but Sussex Police are yet to release details on what led to the tragedy.
The matter has been referred to the coroner.