Four Canadian military cadets who were weeks away from graduating died early on Friday morning after their car plunged into the St. Lawrence River in Kingston, Ontario, the authorities said.
The fourth-year cadets in the Royal Military College ran a dark green car at around 2 a.m. into the river that surrounds the Point Frederick peninsula, Canada’s National Defense said in a statement.
CBC News captured footage of the vehicle being lifted out of the water on Friday, its doors opened and windshield damaged.
Canada’s National Defense identified those in the car as: Jack Hogarth, Andrei Honciu, Broden Murphy and Andrés Salek.
The men, whose ages were not released, were about to graduate and be commissioned as officers in the Canadian armed forces in a few weeks, Commodore Josée Kurtz, the commandant of the college, said at a news conference on Friday evening.
Commodore Kurtz said that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service would investigate “what the vehicle was doing and what caused the incident.”
She released no other details on Friday and did not respond to a call seeking comment on Saturday. The Royal Military College also did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
“Those young people and our staff and the faculty, we pretty much all know each other,” Commodore Kurtz said, adding that the college has about 1,200 students. “I live here. I see those young people every day. And so four at a time, under such circumstances, it’s tough.”
Commodore Kurtz said that Mr. Hogarth and Mr. Salek were both completing a bachelor’s degree in military and strategic studies and planned to be armored officers in the army.
Mr. Honciu and Mr. Murphy were completing bachelor’s degrees in business administration. Mr. Honciu planned to be a logistics officer, and Mr. Murphy an aerospace environment controller in the Royal Canadian Air Force, she said.
“As parents ourselves, we can only imagine their pain,” Commodore Kurtz said.
Politicians across the country expressed condolences to the cadets’ families.
Bryan Paterson, the mayor of Kingston, said on Twitter that he was “absolutely heartbroken,” and the defense minister, Anita Anand, said in a statement that she offered her “deepest condolences to their families, classmates and loved ones as they grieve such a profound loss, which is felt across our Canadian Armed Forces and country.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter on Friday that “the tragic passing of these young Canadians is a devastating loss.”
“To all who knew them: We’re here for you,” he said.