Sea cadet dies after falling from rigging

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The Independent Online

A sea cadet has died after falling 30ft from the rigging of a sailing ship in the Solent.

The 14-year-old schoolboy, from Kent, was climbing the rigging on the sail training ship TS Royalist at around 8.30pm on Sunday when he fell overboard. Crew members retrieved him from the water and he was airlifted to hospital by a coastguard helicopter, but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Mike Cornish, the chief executive of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets, said the ship was anchored at Stokes Bay, near Gosport, Hampshire, when the incident happened.

"The cadets were ordered to furl and reef the sails, which is standard operational procedure for the night, and unfortunately the cadet fell while aloft," he said.

Mr Cornish described the incident as an "extremely tragic accident" and said it was "appalling for all those involved".

"The cadets are fully trained and will only climb the rigging if comfortable with climbing," he added. The boy was part of a group of 19 cadets and 10 staff on a week-long training voyage.

Earlier in the day the ship had taken part in celebrations in Portsmouth harbour to mark the 150th anniversary of the sea cadet movement.

A police spokesman said: "The Marine Accident Investigation Unit and Hampshire Constabulary are fully reviewing all of the circumstances surrounding the death and the coroner has been notified."