Officers of an Air Force search and rescue technician who died Wednesday during a routine training jump said equipment malfunction could be involved in the death of Master Cpl. Alfred Barr.

“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,” Barr’s commanding officer Cmdr. Kevin Kozak told reporters during a press conference yesterday.

The 31-year-old Barr was a member of the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron based in at 17 Wing in Winnipeg. He was killed while on training near Yorkton, Sask. on Wednesday.


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Barr, who was originally from Lethbridge, Alta., lived in Winnipeg with his fiancée, Steffi Hempel.

In an interview with CBC, his mother, Sharon Barr, said her son died because his parachute failed to deploy.

However, Col. Andy Cook, commander if the 17 Wing, cautioned that it is too early to determine the actual cause of death.

“We don’t know what happened yet…It would be a disservice to the memory of Master Corporal Barr to speculate,” he said. “News of this incident came as a shock to the entire 17 Wing community. It is a very, very sad day.”