WINNIPEG – An investigation is underway following the death of a search and rescue technician from 17 Wing Winnipeg.
Master Cpl. Alfred Barr, 31, was a member of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based in Winnipeg.
Lte. Col. Kevin Kozak, Commander of 435 Squadron, said Barr died in a routine training mission on Wednesday in Yorkton, Sask.
“During a parachute drop, unfortunately there was a malfunction of some sort and Master Cpl. Barr did not survive,” Kozak said.
The Royal Canadian Air Force’s Directorate of Flight Safety has sent a team to Yorkton to investigate the incident.
“They’re going to find out what caused this accident and where recommendations are made to improve training practices or procedures or anything else related to our operational mandate those recommendations will be made by the investigative team,” said Col. Andy Cook, 17 Wing Commander. “And I can guarantee you that Royal Canadian Air Force will follow up on them and implement them.”
Grief counselling is being made available at 17 Wing for all members on the base.
A tearful Cook said the mood is sombre.
“I need to emphasize that Alfred was a member of the 435 Squadron family, the 17 Wing family, the Royal Canadian Armed Forces family, the Canadian Armed Forces family,” Cook said. “Whenever you lose a member of your family, it hurts.”
Barr was originally from Lethbridge, Alta. He enrolled in the military in 2009 and had just graduated from the search and rescue training course in June at 19 Wing Comox, BC before arriving at 17 Wing.
“He’s only flown with us for less than year now, he was an excited member to be part of the family, he really wanted this career,” said Sgt. Kaulin Damron, Senior Search and Rescue Technician with 435 Squadron.