Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) investigation teams were on the ground in Yorkton, Sask. Thursday, to look into the tragic passing of MCpl. Alfred Barr.
Barr passed away on Wednesday, March 8 after an accident occurred during a routine training exercise near Yorkton.
“All we know at this point is there was a malfunction, it was associated with the parachute, but there’s a lot of steps in place to have a successful parachute open,” said 435 Squadron Commander, Kevin Kozak in a press conference.
Based on the results of the investigation, RCAF officials assured, Thursday, that policies could be changed to prevent similar accidents in the future.
“The CAF, DND, and RCAF have immediately dispatched a team of experts to Yorkton. They will be on the ground less than 24 hours after the accident.
“They are 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 investigating team, and I can guarantee you the RCAF will follow up on them and implement them,” said Col. Andy Cook, commander of 17 Wing Winnipeg.
Barr, originally from Lethbridge, Alta., joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2009 as a signals operator. He later transferred to the SAR Tech trade in 2015. He was posted to 435 Squadron last summer after completing training at the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue at 19 Wing Comox, B.C.
“He was an excited member to be part of the family. He really wanted this career.
“He was stoked to fly with us,” said 435 Squadron SAR Tech, Sgt. Kauline Damron.
Barr was set to be married this summer to his finance Steffi Hempel. He also leaves behind two sisters and his mother. His father passed away in 2013.
The incident has greatly impacted the 17 Wing Winnipeg community, the home base for 435 Squadron.
“The mood, as you can image at 17 Wing, is quite somber today.
“Whenever you lose a member of the family it hurts,” said Cook.
Grief counselling services, as well as chaplains, are available for members on the wing.