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(CNN) – As a helicopter pilot, he survived thousands of hours of flying a year. His family didn't expect a flight aboard a commercial airplane would take his life.
Cameron Dalziel died, along with 297 others, when a surface-to-air missile, possibly fired by pro-Russian militants, took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Thursday as the plane traveled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
"He was a lifeguard on the beach, a rescue chopper pilot. He really was larger than life," said brother-in-law Shane Hattingh.
"Wherever he went in the world, people thought this was someone to be reckoned with. So much so when we heard the plane had gone down, and there would be no chance of him surviving, I still felt like this man was going to walk away from this," said Hattingh.
Cameron Dalziel is survived by his wife, Hattingh's sister, and two sons.
"He was laid waste on a field in the middle of nowhere," Hattingh said, adding that he feels "without a doubt" that the Russians are responsible for what happened.
"Why would the Ukraine - why would they stir things up like this? You know? I just, I don't buy it. You know, Vladimir Putin has so many agendas. I think it changes from month to month," said Hattingh.
"He has me now so riled up, I'm prepared to go over there and fight him," he said.