Two legionnaires drowned today during a kayak outing organised by a specialised company on the Marne river, ENE of Paris. Members of the 2nd foreign infantry regiment based in Nîmes, the two men in their 20s were taking part in a group cohesion activity.
An army statement said “they fell and disappeared in the water on the territory of the village of Cumières at about 11.00 this morning.” The drownings occurred “at the level of the Cumières dam,” according to the East zone commander.
First responders found the bodies rapidly “but despite all their efforts to save” the two men, they had to report their deaths.
The village mayor, José Tranchant, told our colleagues at AFP that “the men were going upstream and then instead of turning back before the dam, I think they must have gone too close. And as there are eddies…Two men made a mistake and two others tried to help them but didn’t manage.”
According to the mayor, “that thing is a trap. We’re from the village so we know very well that you mustn’t go there, it’s dangerous,” he added.
One of the victims was the father of a young child, the other one was “officially” single but had a partner. The army revealed neither their names, nor their nationalities.
Group cohesion activities are not military exercises, they are activities designed to tighten the links between the individuals in the group, notably at the end of a training or exercise cycle. These activities can be either sporty or cultural so it was in this framework that the army had called upon a third party to organise the kayak outing.