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Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says independent probe will be launched into death of Bombardier Patrick Labrie
A Canadian soldier has died of injuries sustained during parachuting while taking part in a multinational training exercise in Bulgaria.
The death was confirmed by Gen. John Vance, chief of defence staff, while he was heading into a meeting of the Liberal cabinet in Ottawa on Tuesday.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan extended sympathies to Bombardier Patrick Labrie's family and comrades.
"Next of kin has been informed and we want to pass on our deep condolences, not only to the family, but to all the members who served with Bombardier Labrie," he said.
"As you know, any time there's an accident like this, an independent investigation will be launched."
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) confirmed Labrie was a member of the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery based at Petawawa, Ont.
He was taking part in Exercise Swift Response 19, which is taking place from June 8 to 27 in various locations in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. The U.S.-led joint multinational airborne field training exercise is working to advance interoperability of NATO allies.
The accident occurred around 10 p.m. ET Monday in Cheshnegirovo.
Labrie's death 'a painful loss'
CAF confirmed a Canadian Military Police investigation has started, but no further details were available.
Lt.-Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier, commander of the Canadian Army, said in a statement that he is "deeply saddened" by the loss.
"Not only is his death a painful loss to his family and friends, but we feel this loss across the Canadian Army and throughout the entire military community," he said. "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."
National Defence public affairs told CBC that Labrie enrolled in the CAF in August 2013 as an artillery soldier.
"The death of Patrick Labrie is a tragic event and this loss is felt across the entire military community. For now, we will use every single means available to ensure his family have the support they need," said a statement.
"Due to privacy issues and to the ongoing investigation, we will not go into
Messages of grief and sympathy spread on social media.
"Canadians mourn today with the family and loved ones of the Canadian soldier killed in a training exercise in Bulgaria yesterday," tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "Bombardier Patrick Labrie's brave service to our country will not be forgotten."
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tweeted that he was saddened to learn of the death.
"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," he said.