A British Army sergeant was killed during a parachuting accident today, the Ministry of Defence said. Sgt Stefan Robert, 30, a member of the 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, was killed while jumping from an RAF Hercules at 3,000ft over Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire. He was married man with a young daughter and based at Didcot, Oxfordshire, the MoD confirmed tonight.
An investigation is under way and a board of inquiry is to be set up by the Army. An MoD spokesman said that the accident was caused by a parachute malfunction, but could not elaborate further on the cause of the tragedy. The jump was part of a military training exercise.
His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Cooper, said:
"Sergeant Robert was highly respected and throughout his career has displayed much promise. It is a tremendous shock that his young and valuable life has been taken so prematurely. He will be greatly missed by all of his regiment, his friends, but most importantly his family."
Sgt Robert joined the Army in 1990 and had been a member of the bomb disposal team for the past three years. He had recently completed a tour of Kosovo. Paramedics called to the scene of the accident attempted to treat the soldier, but he is believed to have died at the scene.