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Motorcade procession held in N.S. for military members killed in helicopter crash
HALIFAX -- A homecoming motorcade procession was held for four of the six Canadian Armed Forces members who died when a Cyclone helicopter crashed into the Ionian Sea off Greece on April 29.
The remains of Capt. Brenden MacDonald, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins arrived in Nova Scotia late Thursday afternoon.
The homecoming for Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough took place in Nova Scotia on May 11 while the homecoming for Capt. Kevin Hagen will be held in Victoria, B.C., on Saturday.
A police-escorted motorcade took Pyke’s remains from the Halifax Stanfield International Airport to his hometown of Truro, N.S., ending at the Mattatall-Varner Funeral Home.
The procession for MacDonald, Miron-Morin and Cousins travelled from the Halifax airport to Eastern Passage and Cole Harbour before ending at the Atlantic Funeral Home in Dartmouth.
As the sun went down after a hot and humid day, hundreds of people lined the route through the Halifax area, many of them in shorts and T-shirts, holding Canadian and Air Force flags. At the funeral home in Dartmouth, three flag-draped coffins were carried inside as a military pipe band played.
The motorcades were initially expected to leave the Halifax airport at 5:45 p.m. ADT, but the plane was delayed an hour.
Cowbrough’s remains were found shortly after the crash while MacDonald’s partial remains were identified on May 9.
The remains of MacDonald, Miron-Morin, Pyke and Cousins were found during a combined search and recovery operation with the United States Navy conducted between May 25 and June 2.
As for the helicopter crash, a Royal Canadian Air Force flight safety investigation into the circumstances is ongoing.
Earlier this month, the military said in a brief report on the probe's preliminary findings that the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter did not respond to something the way the crew expected.
The problem occurred as the helicopter was coming around to land on the Halifax-based HMCS Fredericton, officials said. The pilot attempted to make a number of manoeuvres while the Cyclone's "flight director," or autopilot, was still engaged.
Rather than turning off, the autopilot started to work against the human pilot before the helicopter crashed into the water at high speed.
With files from The Canadian Press.