World

Bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan headed back to Canada

The bodies of two Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan last weekend were on their way home early Tuesday after a snowy sendoff from Kandahar Airfield.

The bodies of two Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan last weekend were on their way home early Tuesday after a snowy sendoff from Kandahar Airfield.

About 2,000 Canadian and international troops attended a farewell ceremony for Corporal Eric Labbe and Warrant Officer Hani Massouh. They both died Sunday when their armoured vehicle overturned southwest of Kandahar in the Nalgham region.

Their coffins, cloaked in Canadian flags, were placed into a Hercules C-130 from a LAV III — the same top-heavy vehicle that rolled over in "rough and difficult terrain" as it traversed a muddy road on Sunday, according to the military. 

Both men were soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment from CFB Valcartier near Quebec City.

Major Pierre Bergeron, a padre, said their deaths were a reminder that "we choose neither when nor where we die, and that this is very painful for those who remain."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid tribute to the fallen soldiers in a statement released Monday.

"The loss of these two dedicated Canadians, whose hard work contributed to bring peace and stability to this war-torn country, will not be forgotten," he said.

"They deserve the gratitude of all Canadians for their commitment and the work they performed on our behalf."

These latest casualties bring the number of Canadians killed in Afghanistan to 76 soldiers and one diplomat since the mission began in 2002.

With files from the Canadian Press