A U.S. Navy SEAL commander died from injuries he sustained during a recent training accident in Virginia, the Naval Special Warfare Command confirmed on Wednesday.
According to the Naval Special Warfare Command, Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, 43, was wounded when he fell while fast-roping down from a helicopter on Saturday during training. The cause of his fall is under investigation.
Bourgeois was the commanding officer for Navy SEAL Team 8. He died at the Norfolk Sentara General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, on Monday.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bourgeois family … and we will ensure our community remains in support of and in relationship with Brian’s family and his children, for life,” Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, in a statement confirming his death.
Bourgeois, he said, “was one of our very best leaders, who possessed all the attributes that make our force effective. We will miss his charismatic leadership and faithful stewardship of our standard. His legacy carries on in teammates he served with, led, and mentored.”
A Navy statement said that after his death, the “SEAL Team 8 executive officer has temporarily assumed command.”
Bourgeois leaves behind a wife and five children, according to local reports.
“We are working with SEAL Team 8 to provide every form of support we possibly can to Brian’s family and teammates,” Capt. Donald G. Wetherbee with Naval Special Warfare Group 2 said in the statement. “An incident like this weighs heavily on us all. Brian was as tough as they come, an outstanding leader, and a committed father, husband, and friend. This is a great loss to everyone who knew him. He will be greatly missed.”
Fast-roping is when SEAL teams descend down a rope from helicopters, which is described as quicker than rappelling. The procedure is designed to allow several members descend down the rope at the same time.
Bourgeois, who joined the Navy SEAL Team 8 in 2020, obtained his commission from the United States Naval Academy in May 2001, according to the Navy Times. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star and the combat action ribbon.
Other details about his death were not provided.