• Tue. May 9th, 2023

Warwick Tollemache was planning future moments before falling overboard cruise

Brisbane man Warwick Tollemache was making plans for his future with his girlfriend moments before he tragically went overboard a cruise ship in the Pacific.

Mr Tollemache, 35, is believed to have fallen overboard while travelling on the Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas ship, 1400km south of the Hawaii coast at about 7pm on Wednesday, April 26 (AEST). Authorities called off their search on Friday, April 28.

Just minutes before he fell, Mr Tollemache and his girlfriend, who was not on the cruise, had been planning moving in together, according the Daily Mail who spoke with his family.

“Celine [La Roche] was absolutely the love of Warwick’s life, and they were making plans together within an hour of the tragic incident,” his sister Sarah Tollemache told the publication.

“We all love Celine so dearly and we are in contact with her daily. We are supporting each other as best we can through this difficult time,” she said.

“In the hours leading up to the tragedy, Warwick was excitedly planning his next cruise and responding to invitations for upcoming events.”

After the search was called off, Ms La Roche, who had been dating Mr Tollemache “on and off” for six years, told The Courier Mail she still hoped he was alive.

“They should have kept looking – I don’t understand why they stopped the search,” she said. “I’m just devastated.”

On the same day, his mother Mandy Tollemache, who had been on the cruise, wrote in a statement on Facebook that the family was heartbroken at their loss.

“He was a kind, beautiful, and gentle soul who was adored by everyone who knew him. He will be deeply missed,” she said.

The US Coast Guard explained the difficult decision to call off the search was made after speaking with the missing man’s family and the Australian consulate.

“After reviewing all relevant information of the case and discussing it with the next of kin, the Coast Guard has made the difficult decision to suspend the active search for the passenger aboard the Quantum of the Seas,” Kevin Cooper, a search and rescue mission co-ordinator for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Honolulu, said in a statement.

US coast guard Ryan Fisher told Sky News Australia the search was suspended “pending any new information”.

In a statement provided to Daily Mail Australia, Mr Tollemache’s family said he had ambitions to become a physiotherapist or a doctor and was studying for the GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test) when he developed “severe, chronic and debilitating” migraines that affected him daily and changed his life.

They claimed he had sought help from both public and private healthcare systems but was “repeatedly turned away”, which led to self-medication with alcohol and mental illness issues.

However, Sarah Tollemache confirmed to the publication through “dedication to his health” and “incredible resilience”, her brother had recovered and been sober for “a lengthy time” – and was happy before he went missing.

news.com.au has reached out to Ms Tollemache for comment.

The family statement said one the fondest memories the siblings shared together was a day they spent doing random acts of kindness.

“They bought flowers for strangers, paid for groceries for others, and spent the day giving compliments and generous tips to strangers. It was a testament to Warwick’s character that he was happiest when spreading love and positivity,” the family said.

“Warwick’s ultimate goal was to make the world a better place and to spread love and kindness, and this is his greatest legacy.

“The Tollemache family is working to ensure that his legacy continues, and his friends and community are already supporting this effort.”

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