British helicopter pilot 'killed in Tanzania by elephant poachers'


A British helicopter pilot has been shot dead by elephant poachers in Tanzania, a conservation charity has said.

Englishman Roger Gower was helping authorities in Tanzania track the criminals when they fired on his aircraft, the Friedkin Conservation Fund said.

In a message posted on its website, founder Dan Friedkin said the organisation was "profoundly saddened by the loss of our dear friend".

He said: "Roger was killed while piloting a helicopter during a co-ordinated effort with the Tanzanian wildlife authorities to track down and arrest active elephant poachers. In the course of this action the poachers fired upon the helicopter and Roger was fatally wounded.

"We are committed to honouring Roger and his work. We are also committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack are found and brought to justice. We believe that Roger can best be honoured by redoubling our commitment to protect elephants and our priceless wildlife heritage.

"This tragic event again highlights the appalling risk and cost of protecting Tanzania¹s wildlife."

Mr Gower is reported to be a former accountant who qualified as a pilot in 2004.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Tanzania and are providing assistance to the family at this difficult time."