In this case, several grey areas remain to be clarified after this military training which turned into a tragedy. The military affairs section has opened an investigation for manslaughter after the death on November 9 of a soldier "during a training march" in Tahiti, the Paris prosecutor's office said on Friday, confirming a report by Le Monde.
Quartermaster 1st Class Clément Elard, a 26-year-old marine, died on November 9 during a mission with the Faa'a military aviation group of the Armed Forces in French Polynesia (FAPF), the Ministry of the Armed Forces announced in a statement. He was part of a "group of nine sailors from the Maritime Force detachment of marines and commandos (Forfusco) carrying out a planned and supervised training march, (who) were surprised by the rising waters," according to the ministry. "While crossing a ford, Clément Elard was swept away by the current," it was reported.
According to Le Monde, the first hearings and elements collected have revealed dysfunctions surrounding this hike: failure to take into account an orange vigilance of Météo-France, poor knowledge of the terrain by the supervisors who were not equipped with a satellite phone and chaotic management of the group when it began to rain.
A preliminary investigation was opened on November 17 for "involuntary manslaughter and violation of instructions" and was entrusted to the research section of the Papeete gendarmerie, the prosecutor's office said. The purpose of this "investigation is precisely to verify how things unfolded," it added. "The circumstances of this accident are not controversial. As is always the case, an investigation has been opened to determine as precisely as possible the circumstances of this accident," Sirpa Marine said.
Read alsoThe army faces recruitment difficulties, it will be short of 2000 to 2500 recruits this year
Clément Elard, who joined the French Navy in 2018, "first served in the Amyot d'Inville Marine Rifle Battalion in Brest before joining the Bernier Marine Rifle Company in Lanvéoc in 2021, his current assignment," according to the statement from the Ministry of the Armed Forces. He was awarded the National Defence Bronze Medal in 2020 and the Military Territorial Protection Medal the following year.