Student died in a tragic boat accident

A ‘PERFECT day out’ with friends ended in tragedy, an inquest had heard.

Joel Eager, of Kings Walk, Shoreham Beach, fell overboard while sailing in Chichester Harbour, in July, just weeks after he had graduated from Exeter University.

An inquest, held at Chichester Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday, heard Joel, 21, was on a rigid inflatable boat (known as a Rib) with friends Neil Chitty and Timothy Beal, a qualified RYA sailing instructor, the day he died.

A statement by Mr Beal was partly read out by assistant deputy coroner for West Sussex, Michael Kendall, and said the three had used buoyancy aids rather than life jackets.

“Before we set off,” Mr Beal’s statement continued, “I told Neil and Joel how to hold on.

“Joel was sitting on the right and Neil was on the other side. Joel must have lost his grip. I saw his legs go up in the air, and fall into the water.”

Joel was pulled from the water by Mr Beal and Mr Chitty, and airlifted to hospital, but died from severe head injuries.

The inquest also heard a toxicology report found no significant amount of alcohol or other substance in Joel’s system.

Mr Kendall said: “This does seem to be a straight forward case.

“It is quite clear that death was accidental.”