Funeral held for Canadian soldier killed in Bulgarian skydiving exercise

Military police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Bombardier Patrick Labrie

Family, friends and military brass attended a military funeral in Gatineau, Que., on Saturday for a Canadian soldier who died in a parachute training exercise in Bulgaria.

Bombardier Patrick Labrie, a six-year veteran of the Canadian Forces based out of CFB Petawawa, died from injuries sustained while parachuting near the southern Bulgarian village of Cheshnegirovo last month.

Military police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Labrie, 28, who was originally from Buckingham, Que., a small town within Gatineau’s eastern limits.

To the blare of a lone bagpipe, a military vehicle bore the casket, draped in a Canadian flag, from a local legion branch in Buckingham to the St. Gregory of Nazianze parish in a military procession Saturday morning.

READ MORE: Canadian soldier’s remains to return to Canada after death in parachute exercise

“The church is literally standing-room only,” said spokeswoman Capt. Karyn Mazurek in a phone interview. “It’s a very sad occasion, a very solemn occasion.”

Labrie’s parents, sister and fiancee were among those in attendance, alongside division commander Brig.-Gen. Conrad Mialkowski, Mazurek said.

“I know everybody that’s here is cherishing the memories they have of Patrick, from his military colleagues to his brothers in arms as well as his family and his friends and the community,” she said.

Pallbearers carried the casket to a hearse early Saturday afternoon, accompanied by an honour guard and a ceremonial gun salute.

Officials say Labrie was performing a low-altitude night jump from a Canadian military aircraft during a multinational training exercise on June 17.

“The military investigation does remain ongoing, and details about that won’t be available for probably some time,” Mazurek said.

The Canadian Press

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