It’s a traditional ceremony that had an unexpected ending.

A member of the Governor General’s Foot Guards was stabbed with the blade of his own rifle after he fell during Changing the Guard ceremonies on Parliament Hill Wednesday morning

The ceremony was coming to a close when the 20-year-old fell and landed on his bayonet. The blade of his own rifle pierced his left forearm and went all the way through.

“As they were leaving this entrance here he just dropped in the middle of the street. And he started to bleed,” said Byron Prior, who witnessed the incident.

A spokesperson for the Ceremonial Guard said the soldier may have fainted.

“Particularly in hot weather when there's a lot of standing around and standing at attention soldiers can be overcome by the elements,” said Captain John-Hugh Mac Donald, public affairs officer with the Ceremonial Guard.

Members of the Canadian Forces applied a tourniquet to prevent the solider from bleeding to death before paramedics arrived.

“The knife did go through and through in his forearm. So certainly extremely serious in terms of potential blood loss,” said J.P. Trottier of the Ottawa Paramedic Service.

Mac Donald said he had never heard of a Foot Guard falling on his own weapon but that the soldier is in good spirits in hospital.

“They strive all year to become a member of the guard. It's too bad something bad happened to him. So I hope he gets well and gets back again,” said Prior.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua