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'No words' to describe death of cadet in Kingston crash, former counselor says

Broden Murphy was among four Royal Military College cadets to die last week on campus after a vehicle carrying him and three other cadets went into the water under circumstances that remain under investigation.

Broden Murphy among 4 Royal Military College cadets killed in crash

Broden Murphy was identified as one of the four officer cadets who died after a vehicle crashed into the water on the Royal Military College campus in Kingston, Ont., last week. (Courtesy Department of National Defence)

A former high school guidance counselor to one of the Royal Military College cadets who died in Kingston, Ont., last week says "there's no words to really describe losing somebody as young as him."

In the early morning hours of April 29, Broden Murphy and three other officer cadets at Royal Military College — Andrei Honciu, Jack Hogarth and Andrés Salek — died after their vehicle crashed into the St. Lawrence River on the southern end of the campus.

All four cadets were on the cusp of graduating this month and starting their careers as officers.

The military police's independent arm, alongside Ontario's chief coroner, continues to investigate the circumstances of their deaths. A follow-up administrative investigation meant to prevent another tragedy has already been confirmed by the Department of National Defence. 

Murphy was poised to graduate with a bachelor of arts in business administration on May 19.

He was going to be an aerospace environment controller in the Royal Canadian Air Force, said Commodore Josée Kurtz, the military college's commanding officer.

WATCH | High school counsellor remembers former student who died at Royal Military College

High school counsellor remembers former student who died at Royal Military College

3 months ago
Duration 1:04
High school guidance counsellor Sandra Nedbalek says Broden Murphy was a thoughtful and motivated student, and hearing about his death was very difficult.

Before attending the military college, Murphy went to high school in Oklahoma City, OK. 

Nedbalek, who's now a director of guidance, helped advise Murphy on his choice of courses for his senior year of high school. 

She said she remembered Murphy as a quiet but thoughtful student who took advanced classes and got good grades.

"This is a school of educators who are patriots," Nedbalek said, noting that the school's staff includes several retired military members.

"We honour the students who go into the military."

Reporter Guy Quenneville tells us about the cadets who died on campus last week, and brings us an update on the investigation

Like Murphy's high school, Royal Military College is a small community. Its undergraduate population consists of about 1,130 naval and officer cadets.

Andrew McCorquodale graduated from the college in 1997 — in the same class as Murphy's father — and started a crowdfunding effort in support of Murphy's family. 

"To lose four cadets, you know, it must be devastating at the college," he said. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Ottawa, originally from Cornwall, Ont.

Story tips? Email me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca or DM me @gqinott on Twitter.

With files from Emily Haws

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