Kent Sea Cadet Dies

4 May 2010, 08:20 | Updated: 4 May 2010, 08:34

A 14 year-old Sea Cadet from Kent has died after falling from a training ship in Hampshire.

The teenager, who had been taking part in celebrations to mark 150 years of the Sea Cadet movement, fell around 30 feet from rigging into the Solent on Sunday (2nd May).

Marine Society & Sea Cadets chief executive Mike Cornish said he would have been wearing a safety harness but the cadets did not wear life jackets when climbing the rigging in case they got tangled.

"At this particular juncture all we can say is that the captain took the Royalist out of the harbour at the end of the Sea Cadet Festival at Gunwharf Quays and took it to Stokes Bay, not very far away, for anchorage,'' he said.

"The cadets were ordered to furl and reef the sails which is standard operational procedure for the night and unfortunately the cadet fell while aloft.''

Mr Cornish described the incident as an "extremely tragic accident'' and said it was "appalling for all those involved''.

"The cadets are fully trained and will only climb the rigging if comfortable with climbing,'' he added.

Colin Griffiths, watch manager at Solent Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said: "The crew member fell overboard and was recovered by the sail training rib and transferred to the lifeboat; the casualty was then taken by rescue helicopter to the landing site for the Queen Alexandra Hospital.''

A Hampshire Police spokesman said: "The Marine Accident Investigation Unit is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 14-year-old boy which occurred in the Solent yesterday evening, Sunday, May 2.

"The Marine Accident Investigation Unit and Hampshire Constabulary are fully reviewing all of the circumstances surrounding the death and the coroner has been notified.''