HC Deb 25 November 2002 vol 395 cc8-9W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the recorded time of death of Private Stuart James McMaster of the 1st Royal Irish regiment on 15th June on Beiseker in Calgary, Canada; what action was taken to secure evidence at the scene of the death; at what time the Canadian police were notified of the death and what the conclusions were of their investigation; what the conclusions were of military police investigators; at what time the family of the deceased were notified; and what arrangements he has made for(a) the return of the deceased to the UK, (b) an inquest and (c) a Board of Inquire. [80646]

Mr. Ingram

Ranger (Rgr) Stuart James McMaster died at 15.25 hours Saturday 15 June 2002 during a privately paid for parachute jump at the Skydive Ranch, Beiseker, Alberta. He was deployed to Canada for adventure training, which had recently concluded. Within minutes of the accident, civilian paramedics attended the scene (the STARS (Calgary heli-born medics) and EMF Airdrie (Canadian civilian paramedics)) and pronounced Rgr McMaster dead. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to the scene at 15.35 hours and retained primacy of the investigation for the first 48 hours following the death; they concluded that there was nothing suspicious about the death. Jurisdiction was subsequently passed to the Royal Military Police (RMP) detachment at the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS). An investigator from the Land Accident Investigation Team, working for the RMP, concluded that the accident occurred as a result of Rgr McMaster being unstable after exiting the aircraft.

The casualty visiting officer informed Rgr McMaster's next of kin and additional next of kin of his death at 00.45 hours Sunday 16 June. The deceased was returned to the United Kingdom at public expense from Canada to Ireland via London departing on 19 June and arriving in Northern Ireland on 20 June. A coroner's inquest was not held since the deceased did not die in Northern Ireland; however, Rgr McMaster's family were entitled to request an inquest be held.

A determination on whether to hold a board of inquiry is yet to be made.