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Tributes pour in for Naval Academy midshipman who died in Chile

Luke Bird
Posted at 2:25 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 14:31:29-04

The family of a Naval Academy midshipman who died in an overseas hiking accident nearly two weeks ago is still waiting to bury him, even as tributes and condolences have poured in for the young man.

Twenty-one-year-old Luke Bird passed away July 17 while spending a semester abroad in Chile. He fell over the Salto El Agua waterfall while hiking with a fellow student.

His father, Chad Bird, a pastor and author who is affiliated with the Lutheran 1517 organization, wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday:

"Today is the eleventh day since his death. Our Texas senators, Navy officers, and the United States Naval Academy have been working tirelessly with the Chilean government to get Luke’s body home to us. Unfortunately, this is a very slow process, due to stringent regulations in the Chilean bureaucracy. This means that, as of now, no date has yet been set for his funeral. We will have a service here in New Braunfels, TX, and another one at the United States Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland, where Luke’s body will be interred. As soon as a time and date have been chosen for these services, I will notify everyone. Please continue to pray for all of us. We hold tight to the mercy of our Lord Jesus, who is the Resurrection and the Life, and in whose presence Luke now rests in peace."

Luke Bird's death has prompted condolences from around the armed forces and from the Texas community. State Sen. Ted Cruz said he and his wife continue to pray for the midshipman's family, adding: "May his family find peace during this heartbreaking tragedy."

The Naval Academy Marines dedicated a recent 8-mile hike to Luke Bird's memory.