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GOP Consultant Among 5 Killed in Helicopter Crash

4 American citizens died in Kenya crash
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 5, 2019 2:09 AM CST
Kenyan authorities confirmed that the aircraft was a Bell 505 like this one.   (Wikimedia Commons/Mpcaissy)

(Newser) – A prominent Colorado political consultant and two entrepreneurs from California were among four Americans and a local pilot killed when their helicopter crashed at a national park in Kenya, authorities and family members said Monday. Colorado lawmakers paused for a moment of silence at the state Capitol in Denver to remember Kyle Forti, who died in the crash Sunday night at an island on Kenya's Lake Turkana. Family and friends remembered the 29-year-old Forti as an adventurer and loving husband and father, who made friends of all political stripes during several years of work as a Republican communications consultant.

The crash occurred in Central Island National Park as two helicopters took off after a visit to the Lobolo tented camp, according to a police report seen by the AP. The Standard reports that the helicopter belonged to Deputy President William Ruto, whose official pilot, Captain Mario Magonga, died in the crash. The US Embassy confirmed the deaths of the four Americans and the names of three of them: Forti, Anders Asher Jesiah Burke, and Brandon Howe Stapper. Stapper, a businessman and investor based in California, founded several companies, including a graphics firm where his employees considered him a role model, a co-worker said. His close friend Burke had worked as a political consultant before becoming president of a brand incubator called Bland.

(Read more Kenya stories.)

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