Soldier killed at Wainwright was commanding LAV-3 vehicle, colonel says

A soldier killed in a training accident at CFB Wainwright, Alta., was commanding a LAV-3 armoured vehicle at the time of death, his commanding officer says.

Harjit Sajjan offers condolences to family and friends of Sgt. Robert Dynerowicz

Sgt. Robert J. Dynerowicz of the Royal Canadian Dragoons was based at CFB Petawawa in Ontario. (Department of National Defence)

A soldier killed in a training accident this week at CFB Wainwright, Alta., was the crew chief of an armoured vehicle who served two tours in Afghanistan, his commanding officer says.

Sgt. Robert J. Dynerowicz with the Royal Canadian Dragoons based at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, was killed Tuesday morning. Three other soldiers inside the LAV-3, including the driver, were injured. Two of them are now back with their units and the third remains in hospital. All were from CFB Petawawa.

Col. Conrad Mialkowski, commander of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, said the sergeant was riding in the turret of the LAV-3 at the time of the accident. The vehicle was on a much-travelled gravel road on the base when the fatal incident occurred.

The team in the LAV-3 had just finished training at a series of ranges, Mialkowski said.
Col. Conrad Mialkowski, commander of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, spoke about the accident at a news conference in Wainwright on Wednesday.

"It was not a tactical movement," he said. "[The crew] was travelling on the road, white lights, normal driving as you would see on a civilian highway. At this time, we don't fully understand what occurred."

​The National Investigation Service, a separate unit of the Canadian Armed Forces, has taken over the investigation, Mialkowski said.

That investigation will, in part, look into weather, visibility and road conditions, the mechanical condition of the LAV-3 and the level of the crew's training, the colonel said.

It was snowing at the time of the accident and the road was muddy and slick, he said.

"This is a hard time for those of us in uniform," Mialkowski said. "But even harder for those within his family."

The brigade held a short "field memorial" for Dynerowicz at the base on Wednesday.

Dynerowicz, known to friends as "Dino," joined the Armed forces in 2005 and served two tours in Khandahar, Afghanistan, in 2007 and in 2010, Mialkowski said.

Tuesday's fatal crash was not the first on the base.

In May 2014, Lt.-Col. Daniel Bobbitt, of the 2nd Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, also based in Petawawa, was killed when his LAV-3 overturned during training in Wainwright. Four others soldiers were injured in that incident.

Statistics collated by the Canadian army in June 2014 showed that five soldiers had died and 51 had been injured in rollovers involving LAV-3s since the vehicles were introduced in 1999.

Asked about the record of the LAV-3, Mialkowski said he is confident the vehicles are safe.

The colonel said he personally drove the same model for eight months during a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

"It is a very reliable vehicle, and it's been the workhorse of our army for close to two decades."

This week's single-vehicle accident happened during training involving 3,000 soldiers as part of the army's Road to High Readiness program. The training program began in early April and will continue through the month of May and perhaps into June.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement earlier Wednesday that all of Canada mourns the soldier's death.

"I was extremely saddened to learn of the loss of Sgt. Robert J. Dynerowicz as part of his training during Exercise Rugged Bear," Sajjan said.

"When a member of the Canadian Armed Forces family passes away while preparing to defend Canada, the whole country mourns.

"I offer my sincerest sympathies to his family and friends at this difficult time and will ensure the institution's support in their time of need."

This is the fifth reported death at the Wainwright training base since 2005.