On the way down, however, Sub Lt Rapiwat Kongchim, 42, crashed through a tree which slowed his fall, and then landed on a car.
Fellow officers later said they heard the thud of his landing, but thought nothing of it. Lt Rapiwat thenj climbed back up to his room and some officers said they heard him pacing around
At some point he returned downstairs and, at about 7am, his brother officers all came wide awake when they heard a shot. This time Lt Rapiwat had succeeded, shooting himself in the head with his .38 pistol.
He was transported to Vachira Phuket Hospital by Kusondharm Rescue Foundation volunteers, but was decalred dead on arrival.
Fellow officers were perplexed; they described him as a happy man. But investigators – who concluded the death did not involve anyone else – said they believed he was suffering from depression, perhaps because of a chronic illness that had put him in hospital a number of times.