An inquest in Winchester, England has heard from the mother of a man who fell to his death from a cruise ship in October last year.
Shane Searle, a 42 year old was last seen on board the P&O cruise ship Ventura on October 10, 2015 as it sailed past the Isle of Wight shortly before docking in its home port in Southampton. The ship was returning from a Mediterranean cruise and Searle was last seen in the early hours of the morning before it was realized that he had fallen overboard.
The ship turned around and a major search was initiated by a variety of search and rescue vessels and helicopters. His body was eventually found on November 4 near Weymouth in Dorset on the south west coast of England and was identified using DNA.
His mother, Valerie Passmore, explained to the inquest that she had taken her son on the cruise for a birthday gift but that he had around 10 years of mental health problems and in the days preceding his death he had talked of jumping off the ship and going to heaven. He asked her to go with him and she told him it was not his time, to which he replied that whoever arrived in heaven first could wait for the other.
He had visited the ship’s doctor twice while on board suffering from anxiety and insomnia and he told the doctor that he thought he was dying. Unfortunately the doctor did not realize the seriousness of his mental condition.
The coroner delivered a verdict that on the balance of probabilities he committed suicide while suffering from a severe mental illness but he added that the evidence did not support this beyond reasonable doubt.