Father pays tribute to sea cadet rescuers

CADET Jonathan Martin
CADET Jonathan Martin
Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton and District Commander Superintendent Maggie Blyth. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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THE father of a young sea cadet who fell to his death from a ship’s rigging has thanked the people who tried to save his life.

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

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 May 2, 2010, but later died.

An inquest is under way at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court today to determine what happened.

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

It comes after a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) recommended a series of changes following Jonathan’s death.

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

He said: ‘I would like to say thank you to everyone on board at the time who tried to help Jonathan.

‘I would also like to say what a great organisation the sea cadets is.

‘I am also pleased to see the matters the MAIB report highlighted have been acted on.’

A jury will later make its decision on the cause of Jonathan’s death.

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.