‘His dream was to be a pilot:’ Remains of Vancouver Island pilot Capt. Kevin Hagen return home

'His dream was to be a pilot:' Remains of Vancouver Island pilot Capt. Kevin Hagen return home
WatchCaptain Kevin Hagen was one of six members of the Canadian Armed Forces who died in a helicopter crash during a training mission off the coast of Greece in April. Today his body was returned to the Island where hundreds came out to pay their respects.

A homecoming motorcade procession was held earlier today for a Canadian Armed Forces member from Vancouver Island who was killed in a helicopter crash in late April.

Capt. Kevin Hagen, 30, was one of six Canadian Armed Forces members who died when the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter they were travelling in crashed into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece on April 29.

Canadian Armed Forces members Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins were also killed in the crash.

Hagen’s remains arrived on Vancouver Island on Saturday and were escorted by military and civilian dignitaries in a police-escorted motorcade from the Victoria International Airport to the McCall Gardens Funeral Home in Victoria.

The motorcade departed from the airport at around 1:30 p.m. and travelled along West Saanich Road, Mills Road, McDonald Park Road, Beacon Avenue West, and the Patricia Bay Highway until it reached the McCall Gardens Funeral and Cremation Service, near Royal Oak Drive.

Those who knew Hagen and many of those who didn’t came out to pay their respects and say goodbye.

“He was just a good guy. And he was well-liked and it’s very tragic that this happened,” Natasha Wills, Hagen’s former air cadets classmate, told CHEK.

“He was always talking about cadets,” said Tom Turnbull, Hagen’s former high school teacher, adding. “His dream was to be a pilot whether it be a plane or helicopter or whatever it was and he was in our remembrance day ceremonies dressed up in his uniform and he was just an outstanding student.”

RELATED: ‘I just can’t believe it happened:’ Vancouver Island man missing after helicopter crash remembered as determined and inspiring

Hagen was born in Nanaimo but spent time in Ladysmith, Quadra Island, and Victoria, where he graduated from Lambrick Park Secondary in 2007. The 30-year-old had also been a member of the 848 Royal Roads Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.

The relatively new helicopter that Hagen and five other Canadian Armed Forces members were travelling on was returning to the Halifax-based frigate HMCS Fredericton following a NATO training mission when it crashed into the sea.

Following the crash, the Canadian military conducted a combined search and recovery operation with the United States Navy between May 25 and June 2 in an effort to find survivors. Hagen’s remains were among those identified by the Canadian military last week.

With files from the Canadian Press.


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