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Canadian Soldier Dies In NATO Training Exercises In Bulgaria

Canadian Forces said they are investigating after the soldier was killed during a parachute-training exercise.
Cpl. Patrick Labrie is seen here in an undated photo from the Department of National Defence.
Department of National Defence
Cpl. Patrick Labrie is seen here in an undated photo from the Department of National Defence.

The Canadian Forces are investigating after a Canadian soldier died from injuries sustained during a training incident in Bulgaria, Canadian government officials have confirmed.

Cpl. Patrick Labrie died late Monday while involved in a U.S.-led international airborne field training exercise in Bulgaria, Canadian Forces Sub-Lt. Pamela Bussiere told HuffPost Canada.

The training was part of exercises for NATO’s Exercise Swift Response, which includes some 100 Canadian soldiers based mostly in Bulgaria.

Bussiere said the soldier’s family has been notified and the focus moving forward will be on providing them with the necessary support. An investigation into the incident has been launched.

The soldier was with the 2nd Regiment of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, an army unit based out of CFB Petawawa in eastern Ontario.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan expressed his “deep sadness” while speaking to reporters about the incident before a cabinet meeting in Ottawa. He said he wants to pass along his “deep condolences” to the soldier’s family and those who served with him.

″The thoughts and prayers of our entire Defence Team are with his family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time,” Sajjan wrote on Twitter.

Defence officials said they did not have further details about the cause of Labrie’s death, and that Canadian military police had launched an investigation.

The U.S. military also confirmed two American soldiers were injured during the same jump, but that they had parachuted from a separate plane. One was treated and released from hospital, said U.S. Army spokeswoman Beth Clemons, while the second was admitted for further evaluation.

Canadian Forces Gen. Jonathan Vance issued a statement on Twitter, which said the following:

“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, who died on a training exercise yesterday in Bulgaria. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.”

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also posted a message on Twitter to say he was “saddened” by the death.

“On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, Jill and I extend our condolences to their family and loved ones,” Scheer wrote.

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also shared her “deepest condolences” to the family and friends of Labrie. “We share in your grief at this tragic accident,” she wrote.

Bussiere told HuffPost the exercises are taking place in Europe from June 8 to 27. Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment are deployed for the training.

Troops from Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the U.S. are also participating, according to Bussiere.

With files from The Canadian Press.

Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made comments about Canada’s commitment to NATO during a stop in Latvia last year.

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