Former North Vancouver resident Gareth Morgan among six dead in plane crash in Australia

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      A New Year's Eve tragedy has claimed the life of a pilot from North Vancouver, as well as a British CEO and four of his family members.

      Gareth Morgan, a former Capilano University soccer player, was at the controls when a Sydney Seaplanes aircraft went down in Jerusalem Bay along the Hawkesbury River.

      Compass Group CEO Richard Cousins, fiancée Heather Bowden, his two sons, and her daughter were also killed.

      All six bodies have been recovered, according to New South Wales police.

      Compass Group is a large food-services company whose client list includes Pavco, which operates B.C. Place Stadium.

      Bowden was the art editor at OK! Magazine.

      The managing director of Sydney Seaplanes, Aaron Shaw, posted a message saying everyone at the company is "deeply shocked by this incident and the resulting loss of life".

      He expressed condolences to the families of those who died.

      Shaw described Morgan, 44, as "an extremely experienced pilot, with over 10,000 hours of total time, of which approximately 9,000 hours was seaplane time".

      "On a personal level he was deeply respected and liked by me and all of the team here as a man and as a pilot," Shaw stated. "He flew my family and I to Palm Beach just before Christmas. We are devastated by his loss."

      Morgan began playing soccer in Lynn Valley at the age of six and represented Canada at the Pan American Games in Havana in 1991, according to CanadaSoccer.com.

      A tribute to Morgan has been created on Facebook, which offers glowing comments about his character from those who knew and loved him.

      It's called Gareth Morgan - Man After God's Heart.

      "One of the most gentle & pure-hearted men I have met," wrote Teeshy Johnson. "I found his gentle ways, steady nature & maturity in Christ inspiring."

      Another poster named Caroline described Morgan as "a quiet humble man who loved God with a passion".

      Kelly Winning called him an "amazing man", noting that she "will never forget the words of encouragement u gave me, the kindness u poured out to others, ur love for God and people".

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