11 Americans Die in Safari Plane Crash
The U.S. Embassy said today 11 American tourists on a camera safari were among the 14 people killed when a small plane crashed in a remote mountainous area shortly after takeoff on a trip to a game preserve.
An embassy spokesman in the tiny landlocked state of Rwanda said the plane went down Thursday afternoon near Giseny, 45 miles northwest of the Rwandan capital.
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo, Tex., said several Amarillo residents were among those on the camera safari and two of them-- Mary Slater and Daniel Schwartz --were faculty members.
The other dead Americans were identified as Thomas Askelson, Sycamore, Ill; Jill Cowan, Woodlands, Tex.; Dr. Thelma Yambao, residence not listed; Andrew Foster, Flint, Mich.; Franz (Rick) Heber, Monument, Colo., and from Amarillo: Ernest Farino, his wife, Shirley, their daughter, Becky Fergerson; Nancy Gerald, and Donald Wilberforce. Also killed in the crash were the Kenyan pilot and a passenger from Zaire.
John-Ouma Daniel, executive director of Cooper Skybird, the Nairobi firm that operated the twin-engine Cessna 404, said the plane crashed at 3 p.m. Thursday, minutes after takeoff from the border town of Goma in eastern Zaire.
Nairobi travel companies who booked the American group said it left Nairobi Monday for Zaire to spend four days at the Intrepids Jomba lodge camera hunting for mountain gorillas. The animals live in rain forests on both sides of the Zairean-Rwandan border and are a tourist attraction.