Five men who died in the sea at Camber Sands on the hottest day of the year were on a day trip from London, police have said, it is thought reports of a sixth person is unfounded.
Three of the men were pulled from the water on Wednesday afternoon, while two more bodies were found recovered.
Although formal identification has not taken place, police believe the men were in their late teens and early 20s and had gone to the beach together.
Ch Supt Di Roskilly of Sussex Police said: “We believe we now know who the men are and that they came to the beach together for the day.
“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.”
“The beach has really been in shock” Paul Baskell told The Looker: “This morning it is very noticeable that hardly no one has come down here! Local people have been interviewed by media and the local papers, I just hope that that the beach is not now labelled a killer!”
When the Looker visited This morning the beach was visibly very quite compared to most days throughout the summer.
Members of the public and emergency services tried to save the men when the first alert came in just after 14:10 BST.
Rescuer Deven Small said: “I walked over to the scene and I could see a few people holding someone but his head kept on going in and out of the water.
“I ran in and helped to carry him in. Adrenaline kicks in. I didn’t want to, you’re talking about someone’s life on the line.
“It’s not the nicest thing to see in the world, to see someone die in front of you.”
Two bodies were discovered by a member of the public as the tide receded at about 20:00, the RNLI said.
Police said none of the victims had been stung by jellyfish and there was “nothing to suggest the men were migrants”.
The beach was cleared after the bodies were recovered and the public were asked to stay away
Rother District Council said up to 25,000 people use the beach each day.
An online petition calling for lifeguards at Camber Sands has been signed by over 4,000 people.
A council spokesman said: “Our beach patrols are on site throughout the summer and are able to advise people of potential dangers, reunite lost children and deal with any incidents on the beach.
Last month, 19-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Silva Da Cruz died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea there. He was one of three men who got into trouble in the water.