Brave cadet died trying to help

Jonathan Martin Photo: ITV Meridian

An inquest into the death of a 14-year-old Sea Cadet who died after falling from a training ship in Hampshire has begun.

Jonathan Martin, of Shadoxhurst, Ashford, Kent, fell from the rigging of TS Royalist in Stokes Bay, off Gosport on May 2, 2010.

He was recovered by a lifeboat and taken by helicopter to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, where he was pronounced dead.

Jonathan was one of a number of Sea Cadets on board Royalist, which had been taking part in celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the movement just hours before.

Marine Society & Sea Cadets chief executive Mike Cornish said he fell from about 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 got tangled.

His death was investigated by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Hampshire police.

His family said in a statement released after his death: "Jonathan was a wonderful son and grandson who tragically died whilst doing something that he loved."

The 2010 Sea Cadet Festival, which was held over the weekend when Jonathan died, saw the youngsters put on displays and demonstrations at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth harbour while a marching band paraded through the marina.

During the celebrations, cadets climbed the rigging of TS Royalist for a formal salute and dressed the ship with flags and bunting.

Click to watch the report from the inquest by Martin Dowse.