Friends, family remembers the Canadian soldier killed in training abroad

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A Canadian soldier who died in a parachute accident in Bulgaria last month was remembered as a "gifted soldier" at his funeral.

The bomber Patrick Labrie died during a low-level training jump on June 17th. His body arrived a few days later at Ottawa Airport. His funeral took place Saturday in the Saint-Grégoire de Naz easier church in Gatineau, Que.

Labrie had been with the Canadian armed forces for six years and was based in Petawawa, Ontario.

Bombardier Patrick Labrie was killed during a skydiving training in Bulgaria. (Department of National Defense)

The streets were closed as a military procession took Labrie's body from the Royal Canadian Legion to Joseph Street to the church.

Dozens of people gathered at the funeral at around 11:00 to pay a final tribute to the 28-year-old Buckingham, Que., Native. Twelve soldiers performed a ceremonial salute with 36 empty shots.

"Tremendous loss"

"We had enormous respect for him," said Lieutenant Colonel Dan Matheson, who worked with Labrie.

"He was reliable and was (a) an inspiration to his colleagues and a person they would like to emulate as they move through their careers."

Lieutenant Colonel Dan Matheson says the bomber Patrick Labrie was an "extraordinarily gifted soldier". (Radio-Canada)

The loss of Labrie is still felt among his fellow soldiers, said Matheson.

"The regiment has still suffered a lot, I fully admit it, it's just echoing," he said. "He meant so much to so many, he had groups of friends that transcended groups and groups that they didn't normally see together."

"He was that kind of guy, he brought people together and that's what made him such a great leader and such a terrible loss for us."

Some friends traveled from abroad to attend Labrie's funeral.

Patrick Bidale says he and his wife Patricia traveled from France to support Labrie's parents. (Radio Canada)

"He was a friendly and passionate young man," said Patrick Bidale, a family friend from France.

"What we saw today is something you would see on television … it's very difficult," said Bidale in tears.

At the time of his death, Labrie took part in Exercise Swift Response 19, which happened from June 8th to June 27th in various locations in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania.

He was part of a contingent of about 100 Canadians participating in the training exercise led by the United States.

The military is continuing to investigate Labrie's death and what went wrong during the training jump.

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