THE death of a man who drowned while in the Maldives has been ruled an accident.
Stephen Powell was in charge of the cabin crew of a private jet which landed in the tropical paradise in March this year, an inquest at Portsmouth Guildhall heard yesterday.
The plane’s captain Paul Chaplin, who had worked with Mr Powell for more than 20 years, said the 56-year-old had been drinking in the resort in the hours leading up to his death.
At 1.30am on March 12 Mr Powell’s body was found floating in the shallows.
Mr Chaplin told coroner David Horsley how he believed Mr Powell may have slipped from his cabin, which was on stilts in the water.
He said the steps leading down to the sea from the cabins were slippery and the jetty outside them had only a low bar to stop people falling in.
He added: ‘We stay in so many hotels we quite often forget what room we’re in.
‘He may have been disorientated. He could have got up to go to toilet, opened the door thinking it was the toilet but it was the balcony or even the jetty. He may have gone out for a smoke.’
A post-mortem in the UK found Mr Powell, of Nuthatch Close, Rowlands Castle, was three times the drink drive limit when he died and he also had significant narrowing of the arteries which could have caused acute cardiac failure.
Mr Horsley said he believed Mr Powell’s heart condition played a part in his death and added: ‘I think he could have died because of his heart which was precipitated by falling into the water.’
He recorded a verdict that Mr Powell died due to an accident and said: ‘I know he was much loved by his family.’