Trooper Samuel Christiansen. (Photo: DND)
Garrison mourning loss of Trooper Christiansen
Posted on Thursday July 5, 2018
GARRISON PETAWAWA - Last Wednesday afternoon, a combined search effort with members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Aviation Unit (OPP helicopter), Underwater Search and Recovery Unit (USRU) and Emergency Response Team (ERT) located the body of Samuel Patrick Eli Christiansen, 20, of Petawawa.
Christiansen, a British Columbia native who was serving with The Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) based at Garrison Petawawa, went missing while swimming in rapids adjacent to Grants Settlement Road in Whitewater Region. The OPP confirmed his body was located in the Ottawa River in the same vicinity.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.
“The Petawawa military community is mourning the tragic loss of one of our own. On the evening of 22 June, 2018, Trooper Samuel Christiansen went missing when he was caught in a section of rapids while swimming in the Ottawa River. On 27 June, his body was recovered,” said then-2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Commander Brigadier General Michael Wright in a statement issued Thursday.
“On behalf of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, I offer our deepest condolences to the Christiansen family, and to his fellow Dragoons who are grieving the loss of a comrade and friend.,” he added. “Samuel Christiansen was proud to serve his country and his loss will be profoundly felt.”
Outgoing RCD Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Fraser Auld spoke about the loss of Trooper Christiansen at his Change of Command ceremony on June 28, noting it has been a difficult time for the unit.
“We have a great Regimental family and at this time, I respectfully request that the Regimental family wrap its arms ... around the Regiment and the family of our lost Trooper,” he said. “I know the Regiment will come together as it has in the past and we will move through this with dignity and respect that we are known for.”
Christiansen had entered the water earlier in the evening Friday, June 22 with a second man, also from Petawawa, and both were caught in the current. The second male was able to make his way to shore and summoned help when Christiansen didn’t emerge from the water.
Members of the OPP, Whitewater Region Fire Department, Garrison Petawawa National Defence Fire Service and Renfrew County Paramedics responded and were assisted in the initial search by local professionals in the local whitewater rafting community.
Later in the week, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) was notified and two helicopters with Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology were deployed to the area and efforts continued with the the OPP’s USRU and helicopter.
On June 27, with the cooperation of Hydro Quebec, the water levels on the river were temporarily lowered to assist the OPP’s USRU with their search efforts. The OPP helicopter, members of the ERT and military members also assisted.
At press time Tuesday, no funeral arrangments had been announced..