Sea Cadet celebrations turn to tragedy

A young cadet dies during a training exercise in Gosport

A 14-year-old Sea Cadet fell to his death during a training exercise on Sunday (2 May 2010).

The boy fell 30ft overboard from the rigging of the flagship TS Royalist after celebrations to mark the Sea Cadet Corps‘ 150th anniversary.

He spent around four minutes in the water before being pulled into a RIB by rescuers and taken to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Safety harnesses are supposed to be worn at all times during the rigging exercise but it is not clear whether the boy was wearing one.

A statement released by the Marine Society & Sea Cadets said: “The charity is deeply saddened to report that a tragic and fatal accident occurred on Sea Cadet training vessel TS Royalist. Our thoughts are with the young cadet’s family at this distressing and painful time.

TS Royalist is staffed by experienced and qualified crew. This tragic fatality is the first the ship has experienced since she was

commissioned in 1971.

“The protection and safeguarding of young people is of paramount importance to the charity, and we take our duty of care very seriously.”

The charity is now working with the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch and Hampshire police to establish the full details of what happened.

Detective Inspector Andy Symes from Gosport CID said: “The ship had sailed out to Stokes Bay when at around 8.30pm yesterday the boy fell from rigging into the water.

“He was recovered by a lifeboat and taken by helicopter to the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, where he was pronounced dead.”