Killed: Madaline Cole, 25, was killed in Malaysia yesterday
A young British woman who died from severe injuries after being struck by a boat’s propellers while on holiday in Malaysia had just qualified as a diving instructor.
Madaline Cole, 25, from Hereford, had been snorkelling with an Australian friend when she was hit by the boat off Pulau Perhentian Island, in the South China Sea.
Police said she had received severe injuries to her body, legs and buttocks.
She died before reaching hospital.
Madaline, known as ‘Maddy’, was the daughter of Bob Cole, 59, a former Royal Engineer who served in the SAS.
Friends of the family, who live in Bodenham, near Hereford, said Mr Cole, who now runs security firm Minimal Risk, was ‘devastated.’
One said: ‘Bob doted on Maddy and is understandably devastated by her death.
‘She knew the risks of diving but was always very professional in her preparations and highly skilled in what she did.
‘She had just qualified as an instructor and was looking forward to a wonderful career exploring the world’s seas.’
On February 3 this year Maddy expressed her delight on Facebook when she qualified as a scuba instructor.
She said: ‘After the most stressful 3 days ever- FINALLY we are Open Water Scuba Instructors!!
‘Big thanks to our Instructor Chong! Well done everyone for your achievement and thank you all so so much for all your amazing support!’
On her diving blog, Maddy, who was pictured swimming with sharks, was described as having an ‘insane amount of love for animals.’
Miss Cole (left and right, pictured with boyfriend Ross Makulec) was swimming with Simon Rogers, 22, from Australia, who was also injured in the accident, but his wounds were not said to be life-threatening
Writing on The Seychelles Whale Sharks blog, a friend said: ‘Maddy Cole – Where do we start?
‘This outdoorsy girl has done it all; kayaking, rock climbing, scuba diving, mountain biking, hiking and more.
‘Another person to traipse through the GVI Seychelles dive master halls with a marine background and an insane amount of love for animals.
‘Maddy returned to Seychelles to join the MCSS team in its entire whale shark splendor.’
Paul Austin, manager of the England’s Gate pub in Bodenham, where she worked as a barmaid, said: ‘Maddy was a wonderful, bubbly person.
‘She was the nicest person you could hope to meet.
‘She worked here behind the bar for about six months and was extremely popular with the locals. She left here to pursue a career in diving.
‘She wanted to be a professional diver. It’s heart-breaking to hear of her death.’
Miss Cole was swimming with Simon Rogers, 22, from Australia, who was also injured in the accident, but his wounds were not said to be life-threatening.
Miss Cole and Mr Rogers were with a diving group enjoying an early morning adventure in the crystal clear waters surrounding the island.
Police in Kuala Lumpur said investigations were continuing but it is believed the pair were struck by the boat’s propellers as they surfaced.
A question has arisen over whether the group should have been diving in the area.
‘From our initial findings, the incident happened in an area which is off-limits to swimmers,’ said police Superintendent Jamshah Mustafa.
Holiday: Miss Cole arrived in Malaysia on April 4, said the news agency, and had been staying at the Senja Bay Resort, while Mr Rogers had booked in at the Shari-La Resort
Police Chief Superintendt Kamaruddin Mohammed Zakaria told Malaysia’s Bernama news agency that the incident happened as boat operator Mohammed Azwan Mohamad, 23, was passing through the area to bring tourists to the popular island resort.
‘The two victims and two other friends were diving outside the safe zone and were not wearing safety jackets,’ he said.
‘They were accidentally hit by Mohammed Azwan.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are aware of the death of a British national in Malaysia on May 27.
‘We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.’
Miss Cole arrived in Malaysia on April 4 and had been staying at the Senja Bay Resort, while Mr Rogers had booked in at the Shari-La Resort.
The Perhentians, lying 10 miles off the north eastern coast of West Malaysia and some 40 miles south of the Thai border, are made up of two main islands – Penhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil.
Miss Cole was staying on Perhentian Besar, which, like its sister island, is surrounded by turquoise waters and coral reefs rich with exotic fish.
It is not the first time that a young British female tourist has died in a boating accident while snorkeling in Malaysia.
In July 2004, Joanna Stillwell, 23, who was on a family holiday, was killed when she was struck by a dive boat while swimming with her 18-year-old brother Nicholas, who was not injured.
That fatality occurred near the island of Redang, off the east coast of Malaysia.
According to police at the time, Miss Stillwell had ventured out of a designated snorkelling area and into a channel used by boats.
A spokesman from the Foreign Office said: ‘We are aware of the death of a British national in Malaysia on May 27. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.’