Ottawa

Graduating class looks to honour 4 RMC cadets killed in Kingston, Ont., crash

Cadets set to graduate from Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., plan to honour the four classmates who died in a recent crash on campus.

Cadets who died in crash on campus could also receive degrees posthumously

People walk off the campus of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., in April 2022 after four officer cadets were killed in a fatal crash. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

Cadets set to graduate from Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., plan to honour the four classmates who died in a recent crash on campus.

In the early morning hours of April 29, officer cadets Broden Murphy, Andrei Honciu, Jack Hogarth and Andrés Salek died after their vehicle left the road for reasons so far unknown and entered the St. Lawrence River off Point Frederick.

All four young men were on the cusp of graduating and starting their careers.

The college's spring convocation — only its second in-person graduation ceremony since the spring of 2020 — will take place without capacity restrictions on May 19 at the Kingston Military Community Sports Centre on campus.

From left to right, Officer Cadets Jack Hogarth, Andrei Honciu, Broden Murphy and Andrés Salek were identified as the victims in the crash on the Royal Military College campus in Kingston, Ont., on April 29. (Department of National Defence)

Members of the graduating class have submitted a request to recognize the four cadets during the ceremony. Discussions about what form that could take are ongoing, a spokesperson for the college said. 

The college can also award degrees posthumously. The school's senate will meet to discuss "how best to honour the academic accomplishments of the four fallen officer cadets." 

'It's easy to see ourselves as these young people'

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 1997 graduating class — a cohort that includes Murphy's father, according to retired Royal Canadian Air Force Lt.-Col. Andrew McCorquodale.

McCorquodale, the class's secretary, said the fatal crash will "have an impact" and "there will be moments to reflect." 

McCorquodale, who did not know Murphy personally, recently started a crowdfunding effort to support his family. 

"It's easy to see ourselves as these young people at the start of their career and with so much to look forward to," he said. 

Cadets know the risk service poses to their lives, McCorquodale said. 

"No one expects at school, in an accident. It makes the challenge of coming to terms with that tragedy just that much greater." 

WATCH | RMC alumnus on fatal crash victims:

‘It’s easy to see ourselves as these young people’

8 days ago
Duration 0:38
Retired Royal Canadian Air Force Lt.-Col. Andrew McCorquodale, who attended Royal Military College alongside Broden Murphy’s father, says coming to terms with the deaths of four cadets will be difficult for the community.

Details on cause of death could take months

The military police's independent investigative branch, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), continues to look into the crash. Investigators do not suspect foul play. 

The office of Ontario's chief coroner said Monday its efforts to determine the cause and manner of death for each cadet could take many months "depending on the number and types of tests that may be needed."

A spokesperson for the coroner also said the CFNIS will decide whether to release information about the death investigations because it is the leading agency on the case. 

A follow-up administrative investigation meant to prevent another tragedy has already been confirmed by the Department of National Defence. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Ottawa, originally from Cornwall, Ontario.

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

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