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Canadian soldier dies near Wainwright, Alberta

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Canadian soldier dies near Wainwright, Alberta

One Canadian soldier is dead and two others are recovering after a training accident Tuesday night near CFB Wainwright in eastern Alberta.

Private Patrick Dessureault, of Alma, Quebec, was killed, while Private Jonathan Beaudin of Lorraine, Que., and Master Corporal Richard Boudreault from Charny, Que., were injured in the accident.

Military officials said Wednesday that Dessureault died of a broken neck when soft earth near the Battle River gave way, sending his light armoured vehicle rolling into the water.

The soldiers involved were in the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment from CFB Valcartier, near Quebec city.

Commanding officer Lt.-Col. Daniel Menard said the troops were working within the parameters of the exercise and said the death was a freakish mishap. "No rules were broken. The soldiers were conducting normal training at a very low rate and it's just one of those accidents that occurred."

Menard said: "They were doing normal night activities by using night-vision assets they normally have in the vehicle." After the vehicle rolled, he said it took troops more than 45 minutes to get Dessureault out of the hatch and on to a medical helicopter. He died en route to hospital.

The crew commander of the carrier, Master Cpl. Boudreault, was sent to hospital in Edmonton for chest X-rays. His condition was stable. He had been trapped for the longest time in the vehicle and may have taken in water.

The other injured soldier, Pte. Beaudin, was kept in Wainwright in good condition and was to be released back to his unit Thursday.

Menard said his unit arrived a few days ago and that Dessureault's company was on its first night of manoeuvres, getting used to the unfamiliar terrain.

The commanding officer said Dessureault, who leaves behind a girlfriend, had been with the battalion for two years and was an "excellent soldier. The people that were close to the soldier are going through a mourning period where they have to realize not only a comrade has died but also right now they're so close, they're almost like members of their own family. It's like a brother actually died.


The other troops were pulled off manoeuvres Wednesday but were to return Thursday.

Canada's Chief of Defence Staff, General Rick Hiller, said: "I am saddened by the death of Private Dessurrealt and the injuries sustained by Private Beaudin and Master-Corporal Boudreault. Our thoughts and prayers are with these fine soldiers' families and friends right now."

A spokesman at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright in Alberta says the death of Pte. Dessureault has hit them hard. Lieutenant Mark Peebles says at the end of the day they're all a "band of brothers."

Military officials and the RCMP were investigating the accident.



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