Teen's life 'tragically cut short' on Navy cadet trip to India

Tue, Feb 7

An "outstanding" Wellington Navy cadet has died while on an "opportunity of a lifetime" exchange trip to New Delhi.

Chief petty officer cadet Sacha Piper died from a brain aneurysm last Thursday while on an exchange trip to the Indian capital with the New Zealand Cadet Force (NZCF).

She was a "treasured member" of the TS Amokura's Ships Company.

"Her life has been tragically cut short, but her memory will be an everlasting example of what young people can achieve, and a reminder that each and every day is precious, and we must use all of our time to reach for the stars," the cadet force said in a Facebook post.

Ten cadets and two officers had travelled on the trip — in addition to contingents from many other cadet organisations around the world. The exchange was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Indian National Cadet Corps.

"Sacha had been selected as one of the outstanding cadets in the Central Area, and an ideal ambassador for her Unit, Cadet Forces and the youth of New Zealand.

"The exchange programme was a great success and the opportunity of a lifetime, which she had seized with great enthusiasm."

Piper's brain aneurysm occurred shortly before the New Zealand contingent were expected to return home.

"Sadly, shortly before they were due to return home, Sacha began experiencing headaches," the cadet force said. "She was admitted to hospital and it was discovered that she had experienced a cerebral aneurysm.

"Despite immediate care of the highest standard, her condition rapidly worsened and she passed away peacefully several days later, with her family at her bedside."

In a Facebook post, the cadet's mum said her "darling daughter had now left this earth" alongside a video of Piper with her NZCF unit jumping off a pier.

"Thank you to her fellow cadets at the NZCF Amokura Unit for this perfect remembrance of Sacha. Sacha was so there jumping with you laughing the loudest."

Wellington High School principal Dominic Killalea told 1News that he was shocked to hear of Piper's passing.

"She was a lovely kid — a really positive, friendly person who cared for others and had a really good attitude to her studies."

In their post, the NZCF paid tribute, saying, "a life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered".

"While our hearts ache from the loss of a shipmate, friend, mentor and role model, we are comforted by the knowledge that Sacha was doing something that she was fiercely passionate about.

"She loved every bit of being a Navy Cadet, and grabbed any opportunity that came along, from coxswaining a Crown, to staffing promotion courses, and caring for the welfare of the New Entries in Training Division.

"But most of all she valued the friendships that she forged with other cadets, officers and RF staff all across the NZCF."


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