THE heartbroken father of a Gosport engineer who died in Florida has paid tribute to his son’s life.
Matthew Carscadden, 27, tragically suffered a cardiac arrest in an accident on Friday, June 2 – his life support was switched off four days later.
Matthew was born in St Mary’s, Portsmouth, in September 1989. He grew up in Rowner, Gosport, going to Brune Park School before taking up an engineering apprenticeship at Portsmouth Dockyard, at the age of 17.
When Matthew turned 21 in 2011, he decided that the world had more to offer him, and moved to Florida, with a full-time role on board the luxury cruise ship Silver Cloud.
Following the incident, Matthew’s parents flew to to the USA. Having taken advice from a hospital medical team, they allowed staff to switch off his life support.
Matthew’s father, Gary Carscadden, 48, used to be a marine engineer in the Royal Navy and now works as a regional sales director in Dubai.
He says that what happened has devastated the family, but they will remember Matthew for the lively, go-getting man he was.
Mr Carscadden said: ‘His decision to go to America was an itch – he wanted to go out and explore the world.
‘It felt like he had made it to his destiny after leaving England six years earlier.
‘He was the life and soul of anything he went to; never had a bad word to say about anyone, and they never had a bad word to say about him.
‘We had a family reunion very recently and he was so full of joy about his achievements. Matt lived for a life at sea, he loved his job and was a proud crew member.
‘He was also very keen to keep in touch with everybody – he would Skype me every week and, when his great-grandmother was ill, flew straight back to Gosport.’
With regards to the incident that led to his death, Mr Carscadden said: ‘What we know is that on his last Friday night out he was having drinks with some friends – but the doctors were clear there was not a life-threatening level of alcohol in his system.
‘They could only state that his heart stopped and his brain was starved of oxygen for too long.
‘His mother Sam was informed soon after he was taken to the ICU. We both flew over as soon as we could.
‘Matt was a healthy 27-year-old man in the prime of life and we are devastated to have lost him. There is no medical evidence at this stage to show what caused his cardiac arrest and we remain distraught that we lost him so young when he had such a bright future ahead of him.
‘A good friend said that the brightest spark doesn’t always shine the longest.’
Mr Carscadden says that the support that has been given following Matthew’s passing is more than he could ever have imagined.
He added: ‘I would like to thank the boat’s first mate, Jan Meyer, for all of the support he gave to the family in West Palm Beach whilst we went through this terrible time. Matt looked up to Jan and loved him like a brother.
‘I would also thank the owner of Silver Cloud, Alex Dreyfoos, for his kind words and open house offered on board whilst we were there.
‘A special mention goes to all the staff in the emergency room and ICU at St Mary’s Medical Centre, they did all they could to save him and were very gentle with us at the end.’
A public celebration of Matthew’s life will be taking place on Wednesday, July 5 at the Oaks Crematorium in Havant at 10.45am.