A Canadian soldier who survived an explosion that killed six of his fellow troops said Wednesday that the six werelike his "brothers" because they spent so much time together working on the mission in Afghanistan.
"I feel for each and every one of them," Master Cpl. Brian McCallum told CBC News with tears in his eyes. "In a sense, working with these guys for as long as I have, I can feel their loss. They were my brothers.
"It's horrible to know they can't be replaced."
The bodies of the six soldiers killed Sundayarrived in Canada on Wednesday.
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, were killed when their light armoured vehicle struck a roadside bomb about 75 kilometres west of Kandahar city.
The bombing occurrednear the border between Helmand and Kandahar provinces.
The six died instantly and a seventh, Cpl. Shaun Fevens, suffered serious injuries. He has been taken to an American military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany for treatment. Three soldiers, including McCallum, emerged relatively unscathed.
Master Cpl. Scott Seeley, who helped as the helicopter took the dead away,told CBC News on Wednesday that the soldiers left behind after the explosion gathered around the light armoured vehicle for an impromptu prayer service on Sunday.
"We knelt down by the LAV and had a prayer for the families, wives and kids back home," he said.
"To lose a whole section like that, it's tough to see. You're prepared for things, but that amount of loss at once, it's tough."