Pte. Simon Longtin's father Maurice Longtin (centre) and his son Pte. Benoit Longtin (right) make their way to the hearse with Manon Daoust after Pte. Simon Longtin's casket arrived in Canada during a repatriation ceremony Wednesday. ((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press))

Clutching roses and tissues, family members watched as Pte. Simon Longtin's flag-draped casket rolled out of the belly of a transport plane in CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario late Wednesday morning.

The 23-year-oldfrom the Montreal suburb of Longueuil died Sunday,just weeks into his stint in Afghanistan,after his light-armoured vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan.

Eight soldiers carriedhis casket from the Herculestransport planeto the waiting hearse at the base.

After they laid it down, family members laid roses, one by one,on the young soldier's casket as they wiped away tears.

Among those on hand to pay their respects were dignitaries including Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean.


Pte. Simon Longtin, 23, of Quebec died Sunday when the truck he was in was hit by a roadside bomb.

Longtin was the first soldierto die from Quebec's famed Royal 22nd Regiment, known as the Van Doos. He had arrived in Afghanistanless thanthree weeks before his death.

The young man has been described by family members as a joker and proud member of the Canadian Forces.

In a statement issued by Longtin's parents earlier in the week, they said, "It is never easy for parents to lose one of their children. We are devastated by the death of our Simon, who left us in dignity while proudly serving his country with tremendous honour, amongst his brothers in arms in Afghanistan."

About 1,000 soldiers were on hand Monday as his coffin was carried into the plane at a ceremony at the Kandahar airfield.

Sixty-seven Canadian soldiers and a diplomat have died in Afghanistan since the mission began in 2002.

With files from the Canadian Press