Commission examines sailor's death

AN INQUEST into the death of an Australian sailor who died during a posting to the Persian Golf will examine whether the Navy failed to protect the 28-year-old from himself.

The Commission of Inquiry, which begun in Sydney on Monday, heard Able Seaman Ewan McDonald was given access to weapons despite having shown suicidal tendencies.

The sailor was on sentry duty on the upper deck of HMAS Toowoomba, which was returning to Australia after six months, when friends found him dead with a single gunshot wound to his chest in October last year.

A suicide note was left for his girlfriend.

Family members told the inquiry the sailor had "loved every minute" of his time in the Navy.

Peter Callaghan, who is presiding over the inquiry, said the Navy was aware of McDonald's mental health issues an questioned whether he should ever have been posted to sea.

The hearing continues.

Anyone seeking support for depression can phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Topics:  defence inquest navy suicide

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