Navy crew speak of the moment Portsmouth officer fell from warship

INQUEST Joshua Woodhouse, who died in a fall from HMS Ocean in August 2006
INQUEST Joshua Woodhouse, who died in a fall from HMS Ocean in August 2006

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SHIPMATES have told of the moment they battled to save the life of a Royal Navy officer after he fell from a landing craft suspended at the side of a warship.

Lieutenant Joshua Woodhouse, 25, from Portsmouth, fell 40ft from one landing craft and landed in another which was in the water below.

A jury at the coroner’s court in Portsmouth Guildhall is currently hearing evidence at the inquest into his death.

Petty Officer Stephen Cottan was working in the engine room of another vessel next to where Lt Woodhouse landed.

He said: ‘I heard a bang, followed by [a colleague] shouting my name.

‘I came straight up to the deck where I was informed that an officer had just fallen.

‘I then witnessed Lt Woodhouse lying on his back on the landing craft.

‘He was not wearing a safety harness, hard hat or life jacket.

‘I noticed he was unconscious but breathing.’

PO Cottan and his colleagues then attended to the engineering officer until paramedics arrived.

He was then taken ashore on one of the landing craft and put into a waiting ambulance.

Lt Woodhouse suffered severe head injuries in the incident, which happened while the warship was moored at the Mayport naval station in Florida, USA.

He was taken to hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, but died four days later from his injuries on August 10, 2010.

The inquest continues.