More than 300 people packed the small Catholic church in Brantville on Thursday for the funeral of one of the fishermen killed in Tabusintac last weekend.

An honour guard of fishermen stood in the aisle of the Sainte-Louis church as the casket bearing Alfred Rousselle, 32, was slowly wheeled to the front.

Rousselle's partner, Erica LeClerc, followed in tears.

Men with weathered faces and strong hands wiped away tears.

Rousselle, Samuel-René Boutin, 23, of Saumarez, and Ian Benoit, 35, of Tabusintac were killed when their boat capsized early Saturday morning.

The boat had hit a sandbar in rough seas and began taking on water. All three men drowned.


Ian Benoit had complained to the provincial government about the shallow channel earlier this spring, according to his father-in-law. (Jennifer Choi/CBC)

The tragedy in the close-knit community has left no one untouched.

Although the Tabusintac wharf is usually empty during lobster season, no one was heading out to sea. Instead, they went to the funerals to find solace and to say goodbye to friends.

Father Edmond Thériault spoke of Rousselle as a young man who liked to tease and always had a smile for others.

He loved his family, particularly his two-year-old son, Noah, said Thériault. He also loved the outdoors and cars, he said.

The funeral for Benoit a few hours later was also standing room only.

Mourners spoke of him as a man whose main reason to return home from fishing was to see his two children, a five-month-old girl and a two-year-old boy.

Benoit crewed for years with Genevieve Savoie's husband. She says he was like a son to her.

Both masses ended with an old Acadian song about fishermen heading out on the beautiful sea and one who didn't come back.

The investigation into the accident continues.