A Canadian soldier who survived a roadside bomb attack that killed six of his comrades on the weekend is in "good spirits" after being flown from Afghanistan to a military hospital in Germany for treatment.
Cpl. Shaun Fevens, the only soldier of seven in the rear of a light armoured vehicle to survive the blast, was able to direct his own first aid by giving instructions to another soldier. Before he left Canada for his tour in Afghanistan, he had undergone first aid training.
The blast on Sunday killed six soldiers instantly. Three soldiers in the front of the vehicle, the commander, gunner and driver, emerged relatively unscathed. Ten soldiers were in the vehicle when it struck a roadside bomb.
Capt. Richard Hannah, a Canadian Forces medical officer in Landstuhl, Germany, told CBC News on Tuesday that Fevens is recovering from a broken left ankle, a broken right leg, and a shrapnel wound to hisright wrist.
"His condition is really quite remarkable to me given the nature of the explosion that took place in Afghanistan," he said.
"He's in good spirits and he's really quite happy to talk to people and he wanted me to definitely express to his family and friends back home that he's really doing quite well."
Hannah said Fevens remained focused after being thrown from the vehicle and recalled his first aid training even as he lay bleeding on the ground.
"He was able to stay remarkably calm and he remembered the things he was taught before going overseas. It reflects on the solid training our soldiers received before going over to Afghanistan," he said.
"I think a big pat on the back for him to stay focused and do what he needed to do."
Fevens has undergone two surgeries so far, one in Afghanistan after the explosion and one in Germany.
Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of staff for the Canadian Forces, visited Fevens on Tuesday at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center where Canadian soldiers seriously wounded in Afghanistan are taken for treatment.
Hannah said Fevens was "absolutely thrilled" at Hillier'svisit and the two had a "personal, warm conversation."
"It certainly made him very happy and it certainly lifted his spirits."
Fevens is looking forward to going back home, Hannah added.
Lana Dormiedy,Fevens's girlfriend, told CBC News on Monday that she expects him to be home by the end of the week. She lives in Bedford, N.S., just outside of Halifax.
"He's doing great," Dormiedy said after talking to Fevens herself. "He's in high spirits and [I] imagine he's going through some grieving as well, but they're helping him cope and taking care of him."
Fevens joined the Halifax-based Princess Louise Fusiliers reserve unit about three years ago.
The explosion killed Sgt. Donald Lucas, 31, Cpl. Aaron E. Williams, 23, Pte. Kevin Vincent Kennedy, 20, Pte. David Robert Greenslade, 20, Cpl. Christopher Paul Stannix, 24, and Cpl. Brent Poland, 37.
Canada has more than 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, with the majority stationed in the volatile southern province of Kandahar. They are part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, a coalition of about 30,000 soldiers from 37 countries.
The latest deaths mean 51 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since Canada first sent troops to the troubled country in early 2002.