Sea cadet’s fall from ship anchored in Stokes Bay was a tragic accident

CADET Jonathan Martin
CADET Jonathan Martin

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A JURY has returned a verdict of death by misadventure on a sea cadet who fell to his death from a training ship moored in Stokes Bay.

Jonathan Martin, 14, died after falling from the mast of the TS Royalist as it was anchored in Stokes Bay, off Gosport in May 2010.

Crew members rushed to save his life, pulling him from the water where he landed and giving him CPR.

He was airlifted to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham on but later died, an inquest at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court today heard.

The chief executive of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets, Martin Coles, said safety procedures had been tightened up after the tragedy.

Mr Coles said: ‘Jonathan’s loss continues to be felt deeply with the charity and our sympathy remains with his parents.

‘The safety of our staff, volunteers and cadets is paramount to the charity as demonstrated by 30,000 cadets having sailed on TS Royalist over the last 39 years without similar incident.

‘A thorough review of a fleet safety management system started before the incident and we have incorporated actions arising from this into a full implementation of the recommendations of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).’

It comes after a report by the MAIB recommended a series of changes following Jonathan’s death.

His father, Andrew Martin, today thanked those who came to his son’s aid.

Jonathan, from Kent, had been taking part in celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the sea cadet movement.

The 14-year-old volunteered to go up the mast to bring the sails in with several other cadets.

After bringing in the topsail, Jonathan went to the aid of another sea cadet who was having trouble on the fore course yard.

He unclipped his harness, against his training, and tried to pass another cadet to reach her but lost his footing and fell 26ft.

Cadets were instructed on when to use their harnesses and were forbidden from overtaking each other on masts.

Jonathan had previously been seen by other cadets to unclip his harness but no-one told the adult crew.

Portsmouth’s deputy coroner, Robert Stone, said: ‘There is some talk of the young cadets feeling responsible for what happened.

‘While I understand their feelings, they cannot be held in any way responsible.’