MAIB launches investigation

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is investigating a ‘Fatal man overboard incident’ after a 14-year-old sea cadet died falling from the rigging of a training ship in the Solent on Sunday.

The tragedy marred the 150th anniversary of the Sea Cadets taking place in Portsmouth.

The boy, from Kent, was on the training ship TS Royalist, a two-masted 97ft brig, which was anchored at Stokes Bay south of Gosport, Hampshire.

According to the BBC, he was climbing the rigging to bring in the sails when he fell 25ft (7.5m) into the sea on Sunday night.

The incident occurred at 8.30pm. 

The crew retrieved him after four minutes in the water and sent a Mayday call.

The Solent Coastguard helicopter took him to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Portsmouth Evening News reports:

The teenager was one of 19 sea cadets and 10 staff on board the brig, all from the south-east of England and aged between 13 and 18, who had been on board since Friday.

Becky MacGibbon, spokeswoman for the Marine Society and Sea Cadets, said: ‘It’s absolutely tragic.

‘It was a routine exercise that he had done 11 times over the weekend.

‘It was a routine exercise they have carried out for 39 years.

‘This is the first time there has been an accident.

‘There was a sailing master, a bosun and a watch officer there at the time.’