Helicopter Tragedy, Nepal 2006: Book of Condolences: Messages so far

"I am with David Cassells in Beijing at a Forest Forum conference at the moment and we were both shocked by the news. Jill Sweeting is of course Australian also (well known to Dave) and like many others in WCPA I knew and admired Mingma and some of the other wonderful people. Tragic loss indeed."
Peter, Queensland

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"My sincere condolences to the bereaved. This is a major tragedy and a great loss to all involved with conservation efforts."
Sugato Dutt, Graduate Degree Fellow, Honolulu

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"My sympathies to those who died in Nepal."
David Hickie, Ireland

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"I am hurt and in pain because of this tragic loss. May thier souls rest in peace."
Hector Magome, RVC, Southern Africa

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"This is a heartbreaking event. I send my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of those who died."
Melinda Janki, WCPA member, Guyana, South America

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"I am deeply saddened by this shocking news! Indeed a great loss to the conservation community. Please convey our region's condolences to families, friends and colleagues of these fallen heroes! Our prayers will be with them and their families."
Tepa

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"What a tragedy! We console ourselves at SPNL, their families, and the WCPA family, that they died working for a great cause."
Assad Serhal, Director General, SPNL - Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon

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"This is a great tragedy not just for individual families and colleagues, but in this case also for conservation globally and in Nepal."

"Mingma Norbu Sherpa remains one of our graduates in whom we hold great pride. Dr Chandra Gurung has been a great supporter of our numerous Nepali students. He and Dr Tirtha Man Maskey have visited our campus in recent times to advocate their passionate support for Nepal and conservation."

"Three of our staff and associates : Professor David Simmons, Matthias Schellhorn and Trudy Jones had worked in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. They know the area - the good progress that has been made and the challenges ahead. Other staff: Dr Pat Devlin, Prof Ken Hughey, Dr Hugh Bigsby, Mr Bob Ryan hold long associations with graduates and conservation agencies as part of our University's long standing relationship with Nepal."

"I speak for them all in extending our deepest sympathies to WWF and then world conservation family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and all those who suffer loss in this tragedy. The pressing tasks of conservation and community development as lived out by our friends must go on."
David G Simmons

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"I really don't know how to write to add our condolences for your colleagues and others killed in the terrible accident in Nepal, It was a shock to hear on the radio on Saturday, and to have the full sadness confirmed this morning. I knew one of those killed, Jill,and had, over the years, corresponded with Mingma Sherpa. It must be devastating for you both and for all your colleagues around the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all, and the families of those killed. In sorrow"
Bart

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"The King Mahendra Trust for Nature Cconservation (KMTNC) family is deeply shocked by the tragedy that took the lives of eminent personalities from Nepal and abroad. We express our heartfelt condolences to all the family members of all those who lost their lives in the helicopter accident in Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. Almost all of the people were close friends and partners of us in KMTNC. Individuals among them have served as senior members of our family and key partners in a number of conservation and sustainable development initiatives."

"While this is an irreparable loss for the country as a whole, the Trust recollects the contribution of Dr. Chandra Prasad Gurung, former Member Secretary of KMTNC and former Project Director of Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), and Mr. Mingma Norbu Sherpa, the first Project Director of ACAP. Both Dr. Gurung and Mr. Sherpa contributed in the growth of the Trust as a leading environmental institution in the country and ACAP as a model of Integrated Conservation Development Project (ICDP) worldwide." 

"The Trust deeply grieves the loss of the Hon. Minister of State for Forest and Soil Conservation, Mr. Gopal Rai and Mrs. Rai; Acting Secretary of Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation , Dr. Damodar Prasad Parajuli; Director General of DNPWC, Mr. Narayan Poudel; Director General of DoF, Mr. Sarad Rai; Dr. Harkha Gurung; Dr. Tirth Man Maskey; and other national and international dignitaries. "
DR. SIDDHARTHA BAJRA BAJRACHARYA, Programme Manager KMTNC, Kathmandu, Nepal

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"It is totally unbelievable! So many people of national and international repute coming from all over the globe died in a helicopter crash near Ghumsa. They had all gone for a truly genuine cause of conservation. Kanchenjunga Conservation Area will now be managed by the communities. The handing over process was organized in the field for which all these people had gone including State Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation Gopal Rai. They were returning after completing the handing over. May God provide courage to all the family members and their loved ones to bear the pains."
Uday Sharma, Vice Chair WCPA, South Asia

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"That is a very sad news and I could give all my support to the families and to our colleagues of Nepal."
Prof. Brice Sinsin

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"This is indeed a huge tragedy. Some key members of TILCEPA, and more importantly, great pioneers in participatory conservation, are no more with us. Ironically, they were on their way back from a ceremony marking a revolutionary move of the Nepalese govt to hand over the management of the Khangchengzonga national park to the local communities. We extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who lost their lives."
Ashish Kothari, Co-Chair, IUCN Theme on Indigenous/Local Communities, Equity, and Protected Areas, Pune

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"On behalf of the Foundacion Natura Colombia and in mine get my more felt condolences for the death of the partners in the tragic accident, it is an irreparable loss for the world of the conservation. Please make also our condolences extensive to the relatives of the deceased partners, to WWF and to national parks of Nepal."
Elsa Matilde Escobar

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This is indeed a total tragedy and I am still finding difficulty in grappling with such an immense loss. My heartfelt sympathy to you and your colleagues during this difficult time, and my thoughts and prayers are with you all as you grieve. May their soul rest in peace as we continue the cause to which folks like Migma had dedicated their lives.

Mohamed Bakarr, Ex-WCPA Deputy Chair (2001-2003)

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"On behalf of the Fundacion Antisana in Ecuador, we sincerely regret this unfortunate and fatal accident which has caused the loss of valuable members of the WCPA and the conservation world.  Please express our condolences to their families, to WWF and to the Department of National Parks in Nepal. With deep sympathy."
María Helena Jervis, Directora Ejecutiva, Fundación Antisana, Quito, Ecuador

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"I was dreadfully sad to read this. Chandra and Mingma were really good people and colleagues. What a dreadful loss!"
Adrian

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"I sincerely regret the loss of these dedicated conservationists. I have very pleasant memories of their warmth and good companionship during the times we shared at the WCPA Mountain Biome Group meetings. I am sure we will all miss them very much. Please express my condolences to their families and colleagues."
Hernán Torres, Consultant on Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Areas Planning and Managemant

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"I am deeply saddened by the loss of our WCPA members and the other conservationists involved in this tragic accident. I think we have lost a set of very dedicated conservationists who had worked to protect the environments and lives of many people. Please ensure that the condolences of WCPA are communicated to the families of those lost."
Steve McCool


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"This is most unfortunate. Please convey my heartfelt condolences to the  families, WWF, and the Nepal National Park Service."
Dr. Rakesh Shukla, Research Officer, Kanha Tiger Reserve, India

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"We have lost some highly regarded mountain colleagues, friends and leaders in global mountain conservation in the helicopter tragedy in Nepal. The Mountains Biome team has lost its outstanding Deputy Vice Chair Mingma Sherpa; the champion of the Terrai Arc Connectivity Conservation (amoungst many other initiatives) Dr Chandra Gurung; the Chief Executive of the Nepal Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Narayan Poudel, and good friend, and former Chief Executive of the Nepal Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Dr Tirtha Maskey."

"This is a tragic loss. They cared about a better planet, and devoted their life’s energy to this cause. Both Mingma and Chandra were to be part of our Connectivity Conservation workshop to be held in November in Papallacta, Ecuador. All will be sadly missed. We, the IUCN WCPA mountains team have all taken this news very hard."
Graeme Worboys, Vice Chair (Mountains Biome), IUCN WCPA

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"We lost 'Nepal’s best bunch' in conservation last Saturday. We are very sad, feel unfortunate for the untimely, colossal loss. I am posting this note with my highest respect to them."
Pralad Yonzon

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"This is a terrible tragedy. So many able and committed people lost in one terrible accident. Such a loss for families and friends to bear and such a loss to nature conservation."

"On behalf of all IUCN members in the UK and fellow conservationists please convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of all those involved."
Andy Brown, Chair IUCN UK Committee

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"On behalf of all members of SEAPA (South East Asian Primatological Association), I wish to extend our sincere heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of all those who had to meet with this
premature and most unfortunate accident. May their soul rest in peace, and may our resolve to conserve our biodiversity resources strengthen."
Dr. Ramesh Boonratana, Secretary-General, SEAPA - South East Asian Primatological Association

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"This is a tragic and sad loss for the conservation community. We would like to send our deepest sympathies to all the bereaved families. We have been working with Jennifer and her colleagues in their efforts in support of the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Project and this has touched us deeply."
Robert Wild on behalf of staff of the Edinburgh Centre for Tropical Forests

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"Dear all and especially those of you closely involved in the tragedy, May I express my profound sorrow at this really tragic accident and pass on my sympathy to all families concerned. Such good people trying to do positive, life enhancing programs for people and their environments. I hope we can find a way to honour them."
Penny Figgis WCPA, Vice Chair Australia and New Zealand


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"On behalf of National Parks - ANGAP Madagascar, we sincerely regret this unfortunate and fatal accident which has caused the loss of valuable members of the WCPA and the conservation world.  Please express our condolences to their families, to WWF and to the Department of National Parks in Nepal. With deep sympathy."
Ramangason Guy Suzon

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"What a tragic ending to such a noble mission! If you have the opportunity please convey the condolences of the Commission to the families of these outstanding people. Their contributions remain burned in our memories."
Nikita (Nik) Lopoukhine, Chair, IUCN Commission on World Protected Areas

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"This is a time of profound sadness for all of us. I wish courage for their respective families and ask each member of WCPA to pray effectively for their memory and to purpose actions to honour those heroes."
Hugues AKPONA


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I was in the WWF Nepal office a few weeks ago when the decision to hand over the management of the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area to the local communities was announced. My colleagues were so pleased and full of optimism that this long-term goal was coming to fruition. As we struggle to come to terms with this terrible tragedy, the future conservation of Kanchenjunga will serve as a living tribute to those who were lost. Our thoughts and prayers are with their familes.

Judy Oglethorpe, Director, Community Conservation, WWF US

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"This is a time of profound sadness. May I express my profound sorrow at this really tragic accident and pass on my sympathy to the families of these outstanding people."
Chedly RAIS, WCPA Member, Tunisia, North Africa

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"We feel moved and sad to hear about this tragedy. We join in prayer to all of you for all the colleagues that lost their lives in this tragedy in Nepal and pray also for their families and loved ones. This is indeed a big loss for the conservation family. We send our sincere condolences to the WWF office in Nepal and the families of all this special people that lost their lives in duty."
Vivienne Solís Rivera, CoopeSoliDar R.L, Costa Rica

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"My wife, family and I join the many New Zealanders who had the privilege of working with so many of the folk that have cruelly and unexpectedly been taken away from their families, friends, colleagues and the conservation movement. We are in a state of shock and disbelief that so many great people could be snatched away from us so suddenly."

 "I had the privilege of working with Mingma Norbu over many years and we all still remember a visit to his mother’s house with our family in Khunde Village during the mid 1970’s when we were working with the Himalayan Trust and the Government of Nepal to establish Sagarmatha National Park. During other assignments and visits to Nepal I worked closely with Mr. Narayan Poudel, Chandra Gurung, Dr. Tirtha Man Maskey, and Dr. Harka Gurung." 

"Mingma Norbu was selected by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust to study in NZ and he and Narayan Poudel completed courses at Lincoln University and are still remembered by those that had contact with them. Mingma went onto be come the first Sherpa Warden to manage Sagarmatha National Park and World Heritage Area.

Suffice to say we deeply share in this tragic loss. 

A Maori perspective can perhaps help us during times like this;

Whaia e koe ki te iti kahurangi; ki te tuohu koe, me maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain"
Bruce & Margaret Jefferies and Family – Wanaka, New Zealand

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"I was saddened by the terrible news. It is such a grievous loss and tragedy. I offer my condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of those who perished."
Dmitry Kats, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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"On behalf of CONANP and myself please communicate our very heartfelt condolences to the families of our colleagues and in general to the conservation family which is saddened by the loss these tireless allies."
Ernesto Enkerlin, President, National Commission on Protected Areas, Mexico

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"I also wish to send our condolenances to the families of all those involved in this tragedy. I knew some of these people and it is certainly a lost of colleagues and friends. I am very surprise and I would like to join with others in WCPA in offering our prayers to all the families affected by loss of their loved ones."
Gai Kula, Papua New Guinea

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"It is very sad that on the day of such acheivement we are struck with this tragedy which has resulted in the loss of lives of so many that have made a mark on conservation both in Nepal and internationally.

I would like to join with others in WCPA in offering our prayers to all the families affected by loss of loved ones. " May God grant us the strength to bear the loss and out of this strength grow our desire to keep the conservation work alive of the loved ones we lost."
Birandra Singh, Park Operations Team Leader (EAST), Manukau Parks, Manukau City Council

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"Loss of such a large part of a generation of highly effective Nepali conservationists is staggering. If some kind of funding is involved, my hope would be that it could also focus on helping to nurture a nascent pool of future conservationists - particularly in developing countries - to become effective as our lost colleagues."

"This could give young people interested in conservation a real boost in their effectiveness, by having access to scientific and practical training plus priceless personal connections and mentoring opportunities with conservation professionals and their projects. This would naturally also be focused on involvement of communities where these young people live."

"My thought for this comes from remembering that our Mountains Biome colleague Mingma Sherpa was one of the first children to graduate from the schools that mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary established in the Khumbu region of Nepal."

"We will continue posting statements and images on our Mountains Biome Network website:
http://mountains-wcpa.org/index.htm"
Linda Mc Millan, Deputy Vice Chair, WCPA-Mountains Biome / Member, WCPA-Task Force on Cities and Protected Areas

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"What a blow for the families and for Nepal at large. From 1994-1996 I have worked what I consider the best two years of life, both professionally and private in Kathmandu assisting Dr Maskey and his colleagues on a Netherlands-funded biodiversity project. I highly esteem DNPWC officials for their sincere commitment to safeguard Nepal's natural heritage and their pioneering work on community participation. During the implementation of this project, but also later during missions on behalf of the Netherlands Government, I frequently worked with the WWF office in Kathmandu. My prayers are for these wonderful people. Please convey my heartfelt condolences to the families and the colleagues of the DNPWC and WWF leaders."
Wim Verheugt, Product Manager Water & Natural Resources Management

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Those of us here in Kathmandu are devastated by this conservation catastrophe. The loss of so many good friends and colleagues is overwhelming. Their contribution to conservation has been so great - and with such great future potential that it is hard to think of the Himalaya without them.

It would be almost impossible to assemble a more remarkable group of conservations and Himalayan scholars than those on this flight. The Nepalese government and WWF personnel have outstanding records of creative leadership in working with local communities to translate conservation and sustainable livelihoods into vibrant successes on the ground.

Together with their international supporters on the helicopter, this is one of the finest groups of human beings that could have been assembled. They have been the pioneers in helping local peoples understand and conserve their natural resources. They have celebrated the sacred landscape of the Himalaya and helped all of us to join in expressing our reverence for these inspiring mountains and their inhabitants.

Having shared tents, field trips, seminars, joint projects, and many cups of local and Scottish brew with many of those on this helicopter, I can only hope that the Himalaya - whose beauty and majesty they have so helped to document and preserve - has provided a sacred home. We extend our grief and condolences to the many wonderful family members they have left behind. With great sadness.

Gabriel Campbell, Director General, ICIMOD

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