Canadian soldier killed during parachute training in Bulgaria
Published Tuesday, June 18, 2019 9:47AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 18, 2019 1:24PM EDT
A Canadian soldier who died in a parachuting accident while on a training mission in Bulgaria has been identified.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Bombardier Patrick Labrie was killed on Monday.
“It’s with deep sadness that we lost a Canadian Armed Forces member yesterday on a training exercise,” he told reporters as he made his way into a federal cabinet meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday morning.
Sajjan said Labrie’s next of kin had already been notified and an investigation would be launched into the incident.
In a statement, the Department of National Defence said Labrie was a member of the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery based at 4th Canadian Division Support Base in Petawawa, Ont.
The military said the accident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. ET in Cheshnegirovo, Bulgaria.
Gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada's chief of the defence staff, confirmed the news Tuesday morning, but he would not give any more details about the circumstances of the death.
“On behalf of every member of the CAF, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Bombardier Patrick Labrie,” he wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.”
Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander Canadian Army, said the “entire military community” would feel the loss of Labrie.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Bombardier Patrick Labrie,” Lanthier said in a press release. “Chief Warrant Officer Stu Hartnell and I extend our sincere condolences, on behalf of all ranks of the Canadian Army, to the family and friends of Bombardier Labrie.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed those sentiments in a tweet shared on Tuesday.
“Canadians mourn today with the family and loved ones of the Canadian soldier killed in a training exercise in Bulgaria yesterday,” he said. “Bombardier Patrick Labrie’s brave service to our country will not be forgotten.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also expressed his sympathies to the soldier’s family and friends in a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday.
“Saddened to learn of the death of a Canadian Armed Forces member in Exercise Swift Response in Bulgaria,” he wrote. “On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, Jill and I extend our condolences to their family and loved ones. To all members of the CAF, thank you for your service to Canada.”
Labrie was taking part in “Swift Response 2019,” a United States-led joint multinational airborne field training exercise involving 5,600 troops from eight nations. The exercise is taking place at various locations in Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania from June 11 to June 24.
According to the U.S. Army Europe website, the exercise aims to “validate U.S. European Command’s ability to send high readiness forces into a designated area” while advancing interoperability among NATO allies.
The Department of National Defence said a Canadian Military Police investigation has been initiated.