A young Gozitan policeman died yesterday when his car plunged into the sea at Ċirkewwa, after apparently taking the wrong turning onto the Gozo boat, two years after his uncle suffered a heart attack on the ferry.

You never showed up today and it breaks all our hearts- "

Constable Kurt Gauci, 21, from Victoria, planned to catch the 5.45 a.m. ferry home. As he waited for the ferry to depart he fell asleep in his dark green Hyundai Accent, sources said.

When the time came for him to board the ferry, he woke up, drove past the boat through an open gate and appeared to take the wrong ramp that led him directly into the sea.

The Armed Forces of Malta were called in and a diver pulled PC Gauci out of the submerged car. But it was too late.

Ambulance paramedics tried to resuscitate PC Gauci but to no avail.

A crane, being used for ongoing construction work at the sea terminal, was employed to hoist the car out of the water.

For PC Gauci’s family, the accident was a cruel reminder of the sudden death of his uncle – Labour Party Qala councillor Anton Camilleri. He had suffered a heart attack soon after driving onto the Gozo ferry, also on his way back home, on October 29, 2009. Mr Camilleri died later at Mater Dei Hospital. In a statement, the police said PC 730 Gauci joined the force in June 2010 and was stationed at the Attard police station.

Sources said he was off duty on Thursday and was expected to report for duty at 9 p.m. yesterday for the shift that would have ended at 5 a.m. today. But that was not to be.

As news of the young constable’s death spread, messages of shock and condolences poured in from his friends, relatives and colleagues.

His cousin, George Scicluna, described him as a “lively ” young man “who loved joking”, enjoying himself with friends and training to be a DJ as he had a passion for music.

Katya Scicluna, another cousin, said: “For me, Kurt was like one of my brothers, an amazing cousin and a friend ... I am truly going to miss him and his cheeky... smile... But, thanks to his music tracks on Facebook, I will still feel him close to me... and I am happy to say I have an awesome angel to look after me from up there.”

Joseph Tabone, a friend, described him as someone who “helped everyone expecting nothing in return, a wonderful boyfriend to Elizabeth, an asset to the Malta Police Force – always doing his job by the book, always smiling, always cheerful”.

Commenting on PC Gauci’s Facebook page, one friend said she expected him to walk into a café for his regular cappuccino yesterday.

“We’d probably start joking around and laughing. But you never showed up today and it breaks all our hearts,” she wrote.

Others turned their grief to anger, denouncing what they termed as lack of safety on the quay. They pointed out that, on Monday evening, a woman fell into the sea with her vehicle near Ċirkewwa and was rescued by an AFM patrol boat.

“This is the fault of those working at the terminal who should have put up barricades or signs,” one man wrote on timesofmalta.com, and a woman added: “I only blame the state Ċirkewwa is in ... Why don’t they close the other side when it is not in use by the ferry?”

When contacted, a spokesman for Gozo Channel said an internal inquiry was launched into the case.

A magisterial inquiry is also under way.

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