In the morning of 18 November, pilot Alphonse Musafiri Gasacyoya died in a plane crash that occurred shortly after take-off from the Virunga National Park’s headquarters in Rumangabo, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Originally from Masisi Territory, North Kivu, Alphonse was 64 years old and had been working for the park since 1st December 2017. “His pilot skills were exceptional and had led him to exercise his talents all over the world during a long career in the aviation industry. At Virunga National Park, he devoted himself in particular to training a new generation of Congolese pilots selected from among the staff of park rangers and armed forces“, Virunga National Park officials wrote.
Alphonse leaves behind two children.
“Virunga National Park expresses its deep condolences to the family and friends of our departed colleague. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.
The park is working with the relevant authorities and a thorough investigation will now be undertaken to identify the facts surrounding the incident.”
Virunga National Park’s director is Prince Emmanuel de Merode (Belgian parents). Back in 2017, Flemish pilot Anthony Caere appeared in a Belgian documentary called Flying Doctors. Anthony flew a Cessna from Ostend, Belgium to Virunga National Park, where Anthony Caere started a new life.