NAIROBI, Kenya – A Colorado Springs man was killed in a tragic helicopter crash on an island in Lake Turkana in the north Sunday evening.
Kyle Forti was among four Americans and a local pilot who were killed after their helicopter crashed in Central Island National Park, according to Kenyan police.
Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Jeff Hays released this statement on Twitter Monday.
— The Colorado GOP (@cologop) March 4, 2019
Stan VanderWerf, an El Paso County Commissioner, also took to social media to announce the death of his friend.
The post reads in part, “He [Forti] was a great Republican, co-founder of D/CO, a consulting firm, helped me in my campaign, and lived in my County Commissioner district. He was also just simply a decent guy! He will be missed.”
Two helicopters took off after a visit to the Lobolo tented camp, according to an internal police report seen by the Associated Press.
One helicopter lost contact and crashed shortly after takeoff around 8:30 p.m., Kenya’s Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. It said a search and rescue mission found the wreckage just after 3 a.m.
Officials are investigating the cause of the crash.
The United States Embassy confirmed the deaths of the four Americans, releasing the names of three of them: Anders Asher Jesiah Burke, Brandon Howe Stapper and Kyle John Forti, of Colorado Springs.
Last month two Americans were among five people killed when their plane crashed as they were traveling to Lodwar near Lake Turkana. Kenyan police had reported three Americans killed but the U.S. Embassy confirmed two.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)