(AP) — ANNAPOLIS, Md. The U.S. Naval Academy said on Monday that a midshipman from Texas died when he fell over a waterfall in Chile.
Second-Class Midshipman The U.S. Naval Academy said in a news release that Luke Gabriel Bird, from New Braunfels, Texas, was spending a semester abroad at Chile’s Arturo Prat Naval Academy. The 21-year-old junior was hiking with another student from the school near the Salto El Agua waterfall in Placilla, in the Valparaso region, on Saturday when he lost his balance and fell over the waterfall, the academy said.
The body of Bird was found in the lagoon of the waterfall by Chilean authorities on Sunday.
Vice Adm. Sean Buck, the head of the U.S. Naval Academy, said in a statement, “We are very saddened by the tragic death of Midshipman Luke Bird this weekend.” “I want everyone at the Naval Academy to be there for each other as we go through the grieving process.”
The academy said that Bird went to New Braunfels High School, where he was captain of the wrestling team his junior and senior years and was involved in student government. The bird was in the 20th and 2nd Companies at the Naval Academy and majored in ocean engineering. He was a member of the Semper Fi Society and played sports with his coworkers in the office. The academy said that Bird was allowed to wear the National Defense Service Medal and that he had earned the Marksman Rifle Qualification Badge and the Sharpshooter Pistol Qualification Badge.
First-Class Midshipman Travis Delgado, a friend, and fellow Texan said Bird was “unimaginably smart” and helped him in the classes they took together.
In a statement, Delgado, a senior, said, “He was a great example of a hard-working midshipman who would help anyone at the drop of a hat.” “He was a great man, and everyone in 20th Company and the whole brigade will miss him very much.”