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DND releases report regarding SAR Tech’s death in March

After detailed examination, the Department of National Defence’s Airworthiness Investigative Authority has ruled out equipment failure and weather as the cause of MCpl. Alfred Barr’s tragic death in early March.

MCpl. Barr died on March 8 after an accident occurred during a routine training exercise near Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

According to the preliminary report, the investigation is focusing on human factors, including training and emergency procedures, which may have led to the accident.

The report indicates that when Barr jumped out of the plane, his left leg moved upwards and his body rolled slightly to the right. At the same time, a static line system started to open the parachute.

Because of this, the parachute did not open normally, and the right side of the canopy was observed to be lower than the left side. Consequently, the search and rescue technician (SAR Tech) entered a descending spiral.

While Barr tried to untwist his parachute lines and released an emergency equipment bag, he continued to spin.

It is believed that Barr was killed on impact and as such any immediate first aid performed by the SAR Tech team leader were unsuccessful.

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.

The investigation is still ongoing.

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