A 19-year-old student nurse who was on an incredible trip passed away after falling into the sea while swimming at midnight with pals

19-year-old student nurse swimming midnight
Credit: Gateway Funeral Services

Millie Ann Gentry, a 19-year-old student nurse from Gomersal, Kirklees, West Yorkshire, tragically lost her life in an unfortunate accident while on a volunteer trip in Ghana. Gentry, who was embarking on a month-long journey to offer her skills and compassion, was only two weeks into her trip when the incident occurred on March 17 last year.

The young trainee nurse, along with two friends, decided to go for a swim in the sea after spending some time at a pool bar, despite having broken a 10 pm curfew set by the volunteer program. The evening swim turned perilous when a wave pulled the group further into the ocean. Lewis Mallinson, one of the volunteers and a friend of Gentry, recounted the harrowing moments when he and the two girls found themselves struggling against the water’s force, told Daily Mail.

Faced with a dire situation, Mallinson made the difficult decision to seek help, leaving the girls behind in the tumultuous sea. Erin Byrnes, another friend and volunteer, attempted desperately to keep Gentry afloat while calling out for assistance. Despite her efforts, she soon realized the grim reality that Gentry had succumbed to the water. Byrnes herself was later rescued by a group of about 30 locals who continued the search for Gentry’s body.

An inquest into the tragic event revealed that Gentry had drowned and also suffered a head injury during her time in the water. Her mother, Tracy, provided a heartfelt statement on behalf of the family, painting a picture of Gentry as a “beautiful girl” with a “biggest heart,” who aspired to dedicate her life to children’s nursing, via The Mirror.

Tracy also shared that her daughter, who was studying for a nursing degree at Bradford University, was initially hesitant about undertaking what was to be the “biggest adventure in her young life.” It was her relationship with her boyfriend Elvis that inspired her to embrace new experiences and explore.

Christopher Holland, a director of The Mighty Roar, the organization responsible for arranging the volunteer trip, testified at the inquest regarding the safety guidelines provided to volunteers, which specifically advised against nighttime swimming.

Senior coroner Martin Fleming ultimately ruled Gentry’s death as a result of misadventure, noting that the friends had become overwhelmed by the water after consuming a modest amount of alcohol prior to their swim. This tragic incident serves as a somber reminder of the unpredictability of nature and the paramount importance of adhering to safety advisories, especially in unfamiliar environments.

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