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Naval Academy midshipman slips and falls over waterfall in Chile, body found Sunday

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Posted at 4:10 PM, Jul 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 14:44:42-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Sunday, the Naval Academy confirmed the death of 2nd Class (junior) Luke Gabriel Bird, 21, of New Braunfels, Texas.

His body was found by Chilean authorities in a lagoon of the Salto El Agua waterfall in Placilla, in the Valparaíso region of Chile.

Bird was participating in a semester abroad program at the Arturo Prat Naval Academy which serves as Chile's Naval Academy.

He reportedly lost his footing and fell over the waterfall while hiking with a Chilean Naval Academy student.

"We are incredibly saddened by the tragic loss of Midshipman Luke Bird this weekend," said Vice Adm. Sean Buck, 63rd Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy. "My wife, Joanne, and I and the entire Naval Academy community offer our sincerest condolences to Luke's family, friends, and fellow midshipmen during this difficult time. I encourage all of our Naval Academy family to offer support to one another as we navigate the grieving process."

Funeral arrangements will be provided when more information becomes available.

Counseling services and support are available to midshipmen, faculty and staff through chains of command, chaplains and the Midshipmen Development Center.

This is the second midshipman to die in two months.

Taylor Connors, a 24-year-old midshipman, died while he was on leave in Philadelphia. The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear, but foul play isn't suspected.

READ MORE: Naval Academy midshipman dies while on leave