Sea cadet who fell to his death was 'a wonderful son'

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The Independent Online

The family of a sea cadet who died after falling from a training ship said yesterday they had lost a "wonderful son".

Jonathan Martin, 14, of Shadoxhurst in Ashford, Kent, fell from the rigging of TS Royalist in Stokes Bay, off Gosport, Hampshire, on Sunday evening.

He was recovered by a lifeboat and taken by helicopter to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, where he was pronounced dead. In a statement his family said: "Jonathan was a wonderful son and grandson who tragically died whilst doing something that he loved. He was a popular young man who will be greatly missed by all who knew him. We ask that the family are given space and time to come to terms with their loss."

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said the force was investigating on behalf of the coroner and added that the Marine Accident Investigation Branch was leading the inquiry.

Jonathan was one of a number of sea cadets on board Royalist, which had just been involved in celebrations to mark the movement's 150th anniversary.

Mike Cornish, chief executive of the Marine Society & Sea Cadets, said the teenager fell around 20ft to 30ft as he climbed the ship's rigging. He said he would have been wearing a safety harness but the cadets did not wear lifejackets when climbing the rigging in case they became tangled.