Andrés Salek was looking forward to graduating from the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., and playing a more practical role in the Canadian Army before he died in a tragic accident, recalls his friend Denis Zvynka.
“He always told me how excited he was about his next steps,” Zvynka said.
Salek was about to earn a degree in military and strategic studies, but early in the morning of Friday, April 29, Salek died.
A vehicle carrying him and fellow fourth-year cadets Jack Hogarth, Andrei Honciu and Broden Murphy went into water on campus early Friday.
The crash happened shortly after 2 a.m. at Point Frederick, a peninsula between Kingston Harbor and Navy Bay on the St. Lawrence River.
The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, the independent arm of the Canadian Forces Military Police, is investigating.
Zvynka, who met Salek during their freshman year of high school in Etobicoke, Ont., said he immediately texted his friend and then called him when he heard the news last week.
“None of the text messages went through. I had this terrible feeling in my stomach. Over time I kept getting worse until I found out he was actually one of the victims,” he said.
WATCH | A friend remembers a cadet who died in an incident at the Royal Military College:
A friend admired his stamina
Zvynka and Salek bonded over sushi, beer and basketball, Zvynka said.
They also made the transition to Kingston together: Zvynka went to study at Queen’s University, Salek at the Canadian Armed Forces Military College, which has been granting degrees since 1959.
Salek was preparing to become an armor officer, said Commodore Josée Kurtz, commandant of the college.
According to the Canadian Armed Forces websitearmored officers provide reconnaissance and direct combat support from armored fighting vehicles such as tanks.
Zvynka called Salek a “selfless” friend who put the needs of others before himself.
“Now that he’s gone, it reminds you of those times,” Zvynka said.
Zvynka also admired Salek’s stamina after the pair stayed late in Kingston.
“He was like, ‘By the way, I have to be up in three hours for the drilling.’ I never knew how he would do it but the next morning he would send me a picture or something and it would be him at 6am by the lake and I was still hours away from me. wake.
Zvynka said Salek had finished his fourth-grade exams and was hanging out at the base. They plan to meet in Toronto this summer.
“He was just a nice person. With him gone, I feel like the average niceness of a person drops drastically.”
On Monday, the House of Commons observed a minute’s silence in memory of Salek and the other fallen cadets.
Bruce-Grey-Owen-Sound MP Alex Ruff, a retired Canadian Armed Forces colonel, was also among those who also made remarks.
In @OurCommons today I paid tribute to @RMCCanadaCMR Officer Cadets Jack Hogarth, Andrei Honciu, Broden Murphy & Andrés Salek who tragically lost their lives last Friday. My deepest condolences & sympathy to all family & friends. #Rip #TDV #LestWeForget a> @rmc97reunion pic.twitter. com/sUQYKLNkTH
The college said details of a memorial service will be revealed at the discretion of the families of the victims.