More than £10,000 has been donated to send the body of 19-year-old Gustavo Silva Da Cruz back to Brazil after he drowned while swimming at Camber Sands on Sunday.
Cruz was in Britain visiting family and friends including his father who lives in Croydon. Following the tragedy his family were anxious to raise the money needed to send his body back to Brazil and set up a Go Fund Me page.
The site explains the dilemma that faced the bereaved relatives: “Gustavo was raised in Brazil by his grandparents and mother and for this reason the family needs to send Gustavo’s body to Brazil. Unfortunately this kind of procedure has a very high cost which the family is not prepared for.”
Speaking to the Evening Standard following the weekend tragedy his father Gutenberg Cruz said: “My oldest son came to London and drowned on the beach and died. It is so soon, I can’t believe it.” Gutenberg was on the beach on Sunday when his son was dragged out to sea by a rip tide. Gustavo’s body was found following a six-hour search by helicopters, lifeboats and the coast guard. Two other people, a father and son from London, also got into difficulty in the strong current and remain in hospital.
Drica Santini, a friend of Gustavo’s family said: “What was supposed to be just a fun day at the beach, unfortunately has ended in tragedy. The son of our dear Gutenberg died after drowning in one of the beaches here in England.
“Please, I ask you all to help this father to send the body of his son to Brazil so that Gustavo can have the funeral along with their family.”
In conversation with BBC Sussex, Guy Addington, community incident reduction manager with lifeboat charity the RNLI, explained: “This isn’t an isolated incident here, this goes on around the rest of the coast.
He added: “The RNLI are desperate to make in-roads into that number of fatalities. The key message is if you want to go to the coast, find a lifeguard beach and if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t go in the water.”
In a bid to prevent similar deaths at the popular beach in East Sussex, Josie Holloway created a petition on change.org titled: “GET LIFEGUARDS AT CAMBER SANDS BEACH THIS SUMMER”. So far it has received more than 1,500 supporters.
A statement issued by a spokesperson from Sussex Police said of Gustavo’s downing: “His death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner has been informed.
“Two people, not connected to Gustavo, a 35-year-old man and his 17-year-old son visiting from London, remain critical but stable.”