THE FATHER of the two brothers who drowned at Camber Sands has blamed officials for his sons’ deaths.

Arumukan Saththiyanathan, 51, father of Kenugen, 18, and Kobikanthan, 22, two of the five young men who lost their lives last week, said Rother District Council's decision not to deploy lifeguards had claimed his boys' lives.

RNLI had recommended lifeguards be deployed on the Sussex beach in 2013 - despite previous claims from the council that "no need for lifeguards had previously been identified"

It has now emerged that in addition to the RNLI’s 2013 risk assessment revealed exclusively in the Argus on Saturday, Rother had been advised to consider lifeguards at least twice before in the last twelve years.

A 2004 Tourism South East report said the introduction of lifeguards was of “crucial importance”, and in 2006 a consultancy firm working for the council concluded that staff numbers on the beach “appear to be inappropriate” and highlighted the “risk to swimmers from the extensive tidal range.”

Yesterday the council refused to clarify the apparent contradiction between their statements and those from the RNLI, saying only “We work closely with the RNLI and will continue to do so to review the safety measures in place at Camber beach.”

Mr Saththiyanathan, 51, told a national newspaper: "It’s the council’s fault that they died there should have been lifeguards.”

“They could not swim and they were playing football on the beach."

Rother had blamed "a different demographic" of visitors "coming from inland and have very little or no experience of the sea and dangers it presents” for the increased risks on the beach.

However locals dismissed the claims.

One Argus reader said: “There has been a large Pontins holiday camp at Camber since the 1950s. For the council to claim an increase of "ill informed inland visitors" in the last three years is to blame is ridiculous.”

Meanwhile, nervy beachgoers thought they were witnessing a second tragedy in a week at Camber yesterday, as a coastguard helicopter joined three lifeboats in the search for a woman presumed missing off the beach.

The major search and rescue operation, launched after a member of the public reported seeing an abandoned pair of flip flops and a woman diving into the sea and not returning, was launched at 9am and called off three hours later once the ‘missing’ woman identified herself to the RNLI.

Lifeguards have been provided by the RNLI for this weekend and the council has said it will deploy a team for the rest of the summer season.