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The pilot, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48,


Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, Just one day off his 41st Birthday.

A helicopter carrying two Virginia state troopers, shook and then began to spin before it disappeared from view, witnesses told federal investigators looking into the cause of the crash that killed the two officers during last month’s white nationalists’ rally in Charlottesville which is held between August 11th to 12th, 2017. The Unite the Right rally was a white supremacist rally that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. Protesters were members of the far right and included self identified members of the alt-right, neo-Confederates, neo Fascists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen and other various right wing militias. The mearchers chanted racist and antisemitic slogans, carried semi automatic rifles, Nazi and neo-Mazi symbols (Such as the swastika, Odal rune, Black sun, and Iron cross), the Valknut, Confederate battle flags, Deus Vult crosses, flags and other symbols of various past and present anti-muslim and antisemitic groups. 


White Supremacists March with Torches in Charlottesville


Charlottesville violence: white supremacist Unite the Right rally leads to state of emergency in Virginia


On Saturday, May 13th, a coalition of neo-Nazi groups organized a daytime march in Charlottesville, VA, which essentially was a protest of a local cultural festival, and were quickly rebuffed by community members. Then later in the evening, in a move that for many brought back memories of the Ku Klux Klan, the same group organized a torch-lit rally. The neo-Nazis gathered in support of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee that is slated to be removed by the city. During the day, dozens of Alt-Right members marched and scuffles broke out with counter-demonstrators, although no arrests were made. Later that evening, over 100 fascists held Tiki torches and took photos of themselves before their gathering was broken up by police as counter-demonstrators arrived after about 10 minutes. The rallies were not announced ahead of time and were organized through internal white nationalist, neo-Nazi, and Alt-Right networks, ostensibly in order to avoid confrontations with counter-demonstrators. The neo-Nazi demonstrations did not pull from local people, but instead from white supremacists across the US being brought in, all for the purpose of creating a media spectacle.


4 men arrested for violence at Charlottesville rally - Within the Charlottesville area, the rally is often known as A12 or 8/12. The organizers' stated goals included unifying the American white nationalist movement and opposing the removal of the a statue of Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville's Lee park.


A white supremacist militia member stands in front of clergy counter protesting during the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (Picture: Reuters) According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates had just completed surveillance over downtown Charlottesville and were on their way to provide air support for the motorcade of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) when their helicopter disappeared from radar just before 5 p.m. Witnesses said they saw the helicopter hovering before it began a “rolling oscillation” and began to spin. The aircraft then “descended in a 40-degree nose down attitude,” before it disappeared from view the report said. Security camera footage corroborated those accounts. Witnesses then reported seeing a plume of smoke from the crash site. An earlier NTSB report said there was no distress call prior to the crash.


Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates Funeral - Investigators said there was no indication that the August 12th crash was the result of a mid-air collision with another aircraft, animal or object. The helicopter left a debris field several hundred feet long to the west of the main wreckage. Some debris was found on the roof of a residence adjacent to where the helicopter came to rest, said investigators who interviewed more than three dozen witnesses. While all the main helicopter components were recovered at the site of the crash, most were damaged in the crash and during the post-crash fire, investigators said. The Bell 407 helicopter had been in operation since 2000, according to aircraft maintenance records and had undergone its 100-hour inspection less than two weeks before the crash. 

Virginia State Police have named a helipad at its administrative headquarters after one of its troopers killed in a helicopter crash during the Charlottesville white supremacist rally. The helipad was formally dedicated and named the Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates Helipad after Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates at a ceremony Wednesday. During the ceremony, a new sign was unveiled that bears his name. “The Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates Helipad will serve as a lasting tribute to Berke’s incredible spirit and legacy as a public safety professional, aviator, father, son, brother, and friend,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This memorial will be seen by those visiting our administrative headquarters and Academy.


The helicopter that crashed outside of Charlottesville, killing two officers. (Photo: Virginia State Police) 

The NTSB says that according to radar data, the helicopter was going north and was "2,200 feet above mean sea level" and then started turning to the right and "descend rapidly." According to officials, the Virginia State Police Bell 407 helicopter crashed in a wooded area on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County at around 4:51 p.m. Cullen and Bates were pronounced dead at the scene.


Charlottesville mayor calls for swift removal of Robert E. Lee statue - The Robert Edward Lee is an outdoor bronze equestrian of Robert E. LEE and his horse Traveller. Commissioned in 1917 and dedicated in 1924, it is located in Charlottesville, Virginia's Market Street Park (formerly Emancipation Park, and before that Lee Park) in the Charlottesville and Albemarle County Courthouse Historic District, It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. The statue has become controversial. The City Council of Charlottesville voted 3 to 2 in favor of its removal, along with a statue of Stonewall Jackson, Finding that for legal reasons it cannot be immediately removed, the Council had it shrouded in black on August 23, 2017; a judge ordered the shroud to be removed in February 2018.


The portraits for Special Agent Michael Walter, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates were dedicated and unveiled during the Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service. - 



  • Age 45

  • Tour 18 years

  • Badge 4311

  • Military Veteran


  • Cause Gunfire

  • Incident Date Friday, May 26, 2017

  • Weapon Handgun


Special Agent Michael Walter was shot and killed in the 1900 block of Redd Street in Richmond, Virginia while investigating a suspicious vehicle at approximately 7:30 pm.

He and several Richmond Police Department officers were conducting high visibility patrols in the Mosby Court public housing complex due to a recent trend of shootings and other crime. The officers were approaching a vehicle parked facing the wrong direction on Redd Street. As they spoke to the two occupants of the vehicle the passenger opened fire on them, striking Special Agent Walter.

Special Agent Walter was transported to VCU Medical Center where he succumbed to his wounds early the following morning.

The subject who shot him fled the scene but was arrested in Northumberland County, Virginia, several hours later. On September 27th, 2018, the subject plead no contest to capital murder. On October 11th, 2018, he was sentenced to life in prison but the judge suspended all but 36 years of the sentence against the advice of the prosecutor.

Special Agent Walter was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He had served with the Virginia State Police for 18 years and was assigned to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations' Drug Enforcement Section. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.


At least 1,200 attend funeral for state police pilot Jay Cullen, who died in Charlottesville helicopter crash | Chesterfield County | - The aircraft had previously crashed in 2010 but no one was injured in that incident. But NTSB investigators said the probable cause was faulty maintenance by a shop that was not authorized to make repairs on that particular aircraft. An NTSB spokesman said it it not clear whether there is any connection between that crash and the one last month, but that it will be considered as part of the broader investigation. Both officers had flight experience and were  particularly close to the McAuliffe family. Cullen, 48, was commander of the state police aviation unit, he had spent several years shepherding the governor around Virginia. Bates, 40 served on the governor’s security detail and had only recently transferred to the aviation unit. The day before he died, Bates had contacted the governor about sending a care package to the McAuliffe’s oldest son, a Marine recently deployed to the Middle East. The full investigation into the cause of the crash is expected to take 12 to 18 months.


Heather Heyer sadly died from the blunt force trauma she received.


On August 12, 2017, a car was deliberately driven into a crowd of people who had been peacefully protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one and injuring 28. The driver of the car, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., had driven from Ohio to attend the rally. Fields previously espoused neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs. He was convicted in a state court of hit and run, the first degree murder of 32 year old Heather Heyer and eight counts of malicious wounding, and sentenced to life in prison with an additional 419 years by July 2019.:1 He also pled guilty to 29 of 30 federal hate crime charges to avoid the death penalty, which also resulted in another life sentence conviction ordered in June 2019. A memorial service and vigils were organized. The Mayor of Charlottesville, the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety, the Attorney General and the FBI director called the attack an act of domestic terrorism.

James Alex Fields Jr. was found guilty of driving his car into a crowd of counter protesters at the Unite the Right rally in August 2017,


The mother of a man charged with murder after allegedly ramming his car into a group of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, said she thought her son was attending a rally for Donald Trump. Samantha Bloom insisted she had no idea her son, James Alex Fields, 20, was going to a white nationalist demonstration when he dropped his cat off at her flat a day before the violent clashes which left one woman dead and dozens injured. She said she told Mr Fields to protest peacefully at the event, where he allegedly killed a 32-year-old woman and injured 25 people by driving into them at speed in a grey Dodge Challenger. Graphic footage shows the moment the car came barreling through "a sea of people" before smashing into another vehicle and driving away from the scene with a broken bumper and splintered windscreen. His mother continues, "I don't really talk to him about his political views, so I don't really understand what the rally was about or anything."

Samantha Bloom (right) and her son James Alex Fields Jr (left), who is accused of ramming his car into anti-fascist protesters in Virginia. ( Samantha Bloom Facebook )


The silver Dodge Charger allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. passes near the Market Street Parking Garage moments after driving into a crowd of counter-protesters on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images) Ms Bloom said Mr Fields had mentioned something about the "alt-right", but didn't explain what the rally was about. "I didn't know it was white supremacist, I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump's not a supremacist," she said. "I told him to be careful... [and] if they're going to rally to make sure he's doing it peacefully." Ms Bloom said her son had moved out of her home to an apartment in Maumee, Ohio, around six months ago.


Yuma helicopter crash: 2 Marine pilots killed in Arizona crash identified today as Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand and Capt. Travis W. Brannon - CBS News - The Marine Corps has identified two Marine pilots killed on the Saturday at approximately 8:45 p.m. (PST), March 30, 2019. AH-1Z Viper helicopter crash at the Yuma, Arizona, air station. Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand, 34, of Ambler, Pennsylvania, and Capt. Travis W. Brannon, 30, of Nashville, Tennessee, lost their lives in the Viper crash while conducting routine training during the semi-annual Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course at the sprawling Yuma air station, the Corps said in a command release. “Our most valued assets are the individual Marines and our primary focus is supporting the families during this difficult time.” Wiegand joined the Corps in 2008 and was assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One. He had previously deployed to Okinawa, Japan, as part of the Corps’ Unit Deployment Program.


 Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand, 34, Marine pilot was killed in helicopter crash - He was qualified with both the AH-1W Super Cobra and AH-1Z Viper. The Viper is a replacement to the Corps’ legacy AH-1W fleet. Brannon was a pilot assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, according to details in the command release. Brannon was in Yuma participating in Weapons and Tactics Instructor course 2-19, according to the release. He had previous deployment experience in support of the Marine Rotational Force Darwin, Australia. “It is a somber day for the entire Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command (MAGTFTC) as we mourn this tremendous loss. Our thoughts and prayers remain with their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time,” Brig. Gen. Roger B. Turner Jr., commanding general, MAGTFTC, Twentynine Palms, California, said in the command release.


Capt. Travis W. Brannon, 30, was a U.S. Marine, The seven-week training involves 30 squadrons from across the Marine Corps, more than 100 aircraft and 5,000 Marines and sailors. The course includes three weeks of academics, four weeks of flight training and one Instructor pilots fly week, MAWTS-1 oversees the “semi-annual Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course, top aviators from around the fleet not only trained to high-end warfighting scenarios but also help advance tactics to keep up with real-world developments and conduct experiments with emerging technologies that could give Marines in the air and on the ground an edge on the battlefield,” USNI News reported during a visit to the command in 2016.
The incident is currently under investigation.


Capt. Travis W. Brannon, 30, with his girlfriend and young son.


A U.S. Marine pays his respects during a memorial for U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Travis Brannon, Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Apr. 24, 2019. Maj. Matthew M. Wiegand, 34, of Ambler, Pennsylvania, was a pilot assigned to MAWTS-1, Yuma, Arizona. Wiegand joined the Marine Corps in 2008. He held qualifications in the AH-1W Super Cobra and AH-1Z Viper. Wiegand previously deployed in support of a Unit Deployment Program in Okinawa, Japan. He participated in numerous bi-lateral exercises with Joint and Foreign partners. His personal decorations included the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award. 

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Capt. Travis W. Brannon, 30, of Nashville, Tennessee, was a pilot assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing,
Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Brannon was attending Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 2- 19. Brannon’s previous duty stations include Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Brannon participated in Marine Rotational Force Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. His personal decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

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This March 28, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Marine Corps shows the Marine Corps Air Station Squadron barracks at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Yuma, Ariz. The U.S. Marine Corps reports two pilots died in a helicopter crash near Yuma, Arizona on Saturday, March 31, 2019. The Marine Corps says the pilots of the AH-1Z Viper were conducting a routine training mission. (Cpl. Sabrina Candiaflores/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)


In this Oct. 18, 2015, file photo, U.S. Marines head toward a waiting CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter at Auxiliary Landing Site 2 in the Barry M. Goldwarter Bombing Range during a Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI), humanitarian assistance exercise near the Mexico–United States border. (Randy Hoeft/Yuma Sun via AP)

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Col. Ricardo Martinez, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., speaks to attendees of the annual uniform pageant and cake cutting ceremony on the importance of recognizing past generations of Marines, and thanked the city of Yuma for the continued support of the air station aboard the parade field, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.


The Marine Corps’ first two Kaman K-MAX Helicopters arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. May 7, 2016. The Kaman K-MAX Helicopter is very unique in many ways, such as its purpose and design. It is a helicopter with interlinking rotors whose primary mission is to provide cargo load operations with a maximum payload of 6,000 pounds. “The most unique thing is this aircraft can fly itself,” said Jerry McCawley, a Chief Pilot and Flight Safety Engineer with Lockheed Martin. “These two particular aircraft were over in Afghanistan for almost three years flying unhanded, and moving almost five million pounds of cargo, keeping numerous convoys off the road, preventing any roadside attacks.”


Martinez Lake, Yuma Arizona, 

The K-MAX will utilize MCAS Yuma’s training ranges in both Arizona and California, and will soon have an integral part in testing and operations.
As MCAS Yuma continues expanding its scope of operations, the K-MAX will continue revolutionizing expeditionary Marine air-ground combat power in all environments. “It’s very resilient and can fly day or night,” said McCawley. “It’s out here in Yuma for future test and development with the Marines. It’s great now, and it’s only going to get better.” The K-MAX will be added to MCAS Yuma’s already vast collection of military aircraft, strengthening training, testing and operations across the Marine Corps.

Story by Lance Cpl. Brendan King

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Yuma Arizona 26th Annual Balloon Festival Balloon Glow


In this Oct. 18, 2013, file photo, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Cody Carr looks over landing zone at Trinity Christian Center as his UH-1 assault support helicopter prepares to touch down during a Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI), humanitarian assistance exercise near Yuma, Ariz. (Randy Hoeft/Yuma Sun via AP, File)


Martha Erika Alonso and Rafael Moreno Valle - Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash that killed the governor of Puebla and her senator husband. She only recently took office. The new governor of the Mexican state of Puebla and her politician husband were killed Monday 24th December 2018 in a helicopter crash in central Mexico, according to the head of their political party. Puebla governor Martha Erika Alonso and her husband Senator Rafael Moreno Valle died in the crash, as did the pilot, co-pilot and a fifth passenger, according to Public Security and Civil Protection Secretary Alfonso Durazo. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also confirmed the deaths on Twitter Monday evening. He offered his condolences to the victims' families and vowed a transparent investigation into the cause of the Christmas eve crash.


Martha Erika Alonso, a senior opposition figure and governor of the state of Puebla and Rafael Moreno, a senator and former Puebla governor died in the crash. The crash occurred at 2:40 p.m. local time about ten minutes after takeoff, Durazo said at a press conference Monday night. Communication with the aircraft was lost and a crash was then heard, he said.
"When the aircraft was in flight some three nautical miles from the Puebla airport, it suffered an apparent failure which hasn't been determined yet," Durazo said. The helicopter pilot and co-pilot were identified as Captain Roberto Cope Obregon and Captain Marco Antonio Cabera Romero, Durazo said. Durazo said the fifth passenger still has not been identified. Durazo said the aircraft was found in the town of Santa Maria Coronango. The helicopter was an AugustaWestland AW109, which was owned by the Puebla-based company Servicios Aereos del Altiplano, Durazo said.


The couple was headed to Mexico City, Mexico's Communications and Transportation Secretary Javier Jimenez Espriu said. He said Mexican Civil Aviation authorities are at the scene of the accident to further investigate the cause. "We cannot speculate in any way," Espriu said. "We will be clear and transparent and let you know any evidence we find."
Espriu said both the plane and pilots had all the necessary authorizations and paperwork to operate the flight up to date and in order.


Alonso had assumed the governorship of the east-central Mexican state on December 14 after narrowly defeating her opponent. She was the state's first female governor.
Moreno was a senator, and governor of Puebla from 2011 to 2017.
Marko Cortes, head of the center-right National Action Party, said via Twitter he was deeply saddened to hear about the accident in which Alonso, Moreno and others were killed. "We are in mourning," he wrote. López Obrador had tweeted earlier Monday that he had received information about the crash and was trying to confirm that Alonso and Moreno was on board.


On Twitter Sunday evening, Alonso offered good wishes for the holidays to the families of Puebla and said the coming year could be peaceful and prosperous despite the great challenges facing the state.
López Obrador said via Twitter that his government investigation of the crash will "tell the truth about what happened and act accordingly."
CNN's Mitch McCluskey and Flora Charner and CNNE's Elizabeth Plaza contributed.


AgustaWestland AW109 


Captain Roberto Cope Obregon also died in the crash.


Santa Maria Coronango


From Left to Right - 1 Kyle John Forti -  2 Brandon Howe Stapper - 3 - Anders Asher Jesiah Burke - 4 -  David Mark Baker,. A Kenyan pilot and four American tourists were killed in a helicopter crash in Kenya, aviation authorities and police said on Monday. The helicopter crashed in the Central Island National Park in Lake Turkana on the country's northern border at 8:35 p.m. Sunday (2:35 a.m. ET), Kenya's Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement on it's website. "A rescue team was dispatched immediately and they arrived at the Central Island at around 11:20 p.m. and located the wreckage at 3:20 a.m. with no survivors," Kenya's aviation chief Gilbert Kibe said.


Lake Turkana formerly known as Lake Rudolf, is a lake in the Kenyan Rift Valley, in Northern Kenya, with it's far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake. By volume it is the world's fourth-largest salt lake after the Caspian Sea, Issyk-Kul, and Lake Van (passing the shrinking South Aral Sea), and among all lakes it ranks 24th. Lake Turkana is now threatened by the construction of Gilgel Gibe III Dam in Ethiopia due to the damming of the Omo river which supplies most of the lake's water. The water is potable but unpalatable, it supports a rich lacustrine wildlife, the climate is hot and very dry. 


The rocks of the surrounding area are predominantly volcanic. Central Island is an active volcano, emitting vapour. Outcrops and rocky shores are found on the east and south shores of the lake, while dunes, spits and flats are on the west and north, at a lower elevation. On-shore and off-shore winds can be extremely strong, as the lake warms and cools more slowly than the land. Sudden, violent storms are frequent. Three rivers (the Omo, Turkwel and Kerio) flow into the lake, but lacking outflow, its only water loss is by evaporation. Lake volume and dimensions are variable. For example, its level fell by 10 metres between 1975 and 1993. Due to temperature, aridity and geographic inaccessibility, the lake retains its wild character. Nile crocodiles are found in great abundance on the flats. The rocky shores are home to scorpions and carpet vipers.


Tribe-El-Molo Lake-Turkana North-Kenya - Lake Turkana National Parks are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sibiloi National Park lies on the lake's eastern shore, while Central Island National Park and South Island National Park lie in the lake. Both are known for their Nile crocodiles. An abundance of hominid fossils have been discovered in the area surrounding Lake Turkana. The lake also has a large population of large water turtles, particularly in the area of Central Island. The Lake Turkana region is home to hundreds of species of birds native to Kenya.


A statement from the US Embassy Monday identified three of the four Americans as Anders Asher Jesiah Burke, Brandon Howe Stapper and Kyle John Forti. "We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of all those killed in the crash. We are providing all appropriate consular assistance to the families of the American citizens," an embassy spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. Mario Magonga has been identified as the pilot who flew the chopper to the island, Magonga was also the pilot for Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto. The chopper was one of two that landed on the island, Kenyan police said in an earlier statement, adding that the other aircraft "managed" to land safely. Investigators have not yet established the cause of the crash, according to the National Police Service.
A local news outlet reported Monday that the two choppers had taken tourists to the island, which borders Ethiopia and is known for its colony of Nile crocodiles.


Air mishaps have become frequent in recent months in Kenya, a popular destination for international tourists visiting the east African nation for its vast wildlife and coastal attractions.
Five people, including two Americans tourists, were killed in February after a small passenger plane crashed in Kenya's Mukatano forest. In July, 10 people aboard a small aircraft died after it crashed in the Aberdare forest in the mountainous region of the country.

Image Above - Prominent Colorado Springs political consultant Kyle Hope Max Forti died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Kenya, authorities said.


Image Above - Mario Magonga: the pilot of the crashed helicopter  - Captain Mario Magonga, an ex military pilot hails from Nyamataro, Kitutu Chache South, Kisii county..He is a first cousin to area MP Richard Onyonka. An Alumni of Cardinal Otunga, Mosocho. His father is retired military man; Brigadier (rtd) Magonga. RIP.


Archaeologists say a 10,000 year-old mass grave discovered in East Africa may be the oldest evidence of human warfare. 27 skeletons found in the ancient site located near Kenya’s Lake Turkana, at least 10 showed signs of fatal injuries. Researchers postulate that the remains, which were of prehistoric-hunter gatherers, were deliberately left unburied after their brutal massacre. The haphazard positioning of the remains is cited as evidence that they were not moved after their deaths.

The remains reportedly show unmistakable signs of blunt force trauma from different weapons including arrows and clubs and stone blades. Some skeletons were found to have sustained wounds to the skulls, knees, hands, necks and ribs. The remains of an old man and a woman, who was about six months pregnant, were found with no injury. However, the woman was bounded by her hands and feet. Researchers say it is very likely they too suffered violent deaths. “Most scholars have considered that warfare emerged as a result of ownership of land, farming and more complex political systems,” Lahr said. “Our findings show that this hypothesis is incorrect, and that intergroup conflict had a much longer history.”  The site of the ancient massacre is located about a mile from the shores of Lake Turkana, which fossils records shows was home to several animals such as lions, wild dogs, hyenas, zebras, rhinos, gazelles and hippos. The site, which is also a goldmine of archaeological findings, also had a large population of fishes. “The edge of the lake must have been an amazing place to live- but also dangerous,” Lahr said. “We have also found several fragments of human fossils at other sites with evidence of having been eaten by carnivores.”


Asher Burke had described Kenya as "the closest thing on Earth to heaven, a transcendent experience."Courtesy Brett Stapper - 

The San Diego native decided he would try to set up a company offering “ultimate experiences” for globe-trotting young entrepreneurs: people like himself.

The core of the idea was to offer helicopter safaris in Kenya, based around the lodge he had stayed in at Lake Turkana. Burke returned to Kenya and bought a share in a camping lodge. He partnered with locals, including at a helicopter tour company, and set out to build his dream. A serial entrepreneur, Burke set out to prove the concept, drawing upon his close-knit circle of friends based in Southern California and from among like-minded acquaintances with a thirst for exploring the world.
Among these were his childhood friends: Kyle Forti and two brothers, Brandon and Brett Stapper. They were joined by another entrepreneur, David Baker, from Coronado, California.


The crash site at Lake Turkana. Burke billed the adventures as organic, immediate and intense: flying in small helicopters across the African landscape without a concrete itinerary, stopping along the way anywhere and everywhere participants wanted, to “explore Africa in this incredible way,” In December, Anders Asher Jesiah Burke was joined in Kenya by his girlfriend, Emeri Callahan. They spent Valentine’s Day together at Lake Turkana.


The lake formerly contained Africa's largest population of Nile Crocodiles, 14,000, as estimated in a 1968 study by Alistair Graham. On Sunday night, the group of 10 — eight visitors and two pilots, aboard two helicopters — had flown to Lake Turkana’s Central Island from their campsite to have cocktails as they watched the sun set over the lake. But as twilight settled in just after 6:30 p.m., the weather worsened. The group decided to wait, hoping for the wind to die down and conditions improve. They didn’t. By 8 p.m., the light was gone, and the group was concerned they would be stuck overnight on the island. They made the decision to fly back as it was only a short 15 minute journey back to their campsite. 


A group including Callahan, Ribeyre and two others — whose identities have not yet been made public — got in one aircraft, piloted by one of the partners in Burke’s project. The four friends — Burke, Brandon Stapper, Forti and Baker — got in the other, piloted by Mario Magonga. Only one of the aircraft would make it back safely. According to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, the two helicopters took off just after 8:30 p.m. Only a few minutes later, the aircraft carrying Burke and his friends disappeared into the darkness. The other one landed safely in Lobolo Camp in the town of Lodwar.


As the world's largest alkaline lake, Lake Turkana is well worth a visit on a Kenya safari holiday. Due to its location in the northern region of Kenya, it isn't always chosen as a safari destination which is a shame as it has an impressive landscape...


6 days Marsabit – Lake Turkana Cultural Festival June 2019 The Marsabit-Lake Turkana cultural Festival will take place for the 13th consecutive year in Loyangalani town; on the shores of the awe-inspiring Jade Sea in June 2019 (actual festival dates 13th to 15th June). 


Over the dry grasslands ranges a frail population of grazing mammals and predators. The grazers are chiefly Grevy's Zebra, Burchell's zebra, the beisa oryx, Grant's gazelle, the topi, and the reticulated giraffe. They are hunted by the lion and the cheetah, Elephants and the black rhinoceroses are no longer seen, although Teleki reported seeing and shooting many. Closer to the dust is the cushioned gerbil (Gerbillus pulvinatus)


Image Above - Zebra crossing road at Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Compared to other large African lakes, Turkana has relatively few fish species. The lake holds about 50 fish species, including 12 endemics: The cichlids, The barb, the catfish, the robber tetras, the Rudolf lates, the lampeyes, and the cyprinid species. Non-endemics include species such as Nile tilapia, bichirs, the elephant fish Mormyrus kannume, African arowana, African knifefish, Distichodus niloticus, the nile perch and numerous others, the lake is heavilly fished.


UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Five people died after a helicopter crashed into the East River on Sunday 11th March 2018 night time, police and fire officials said. The privately chartered craft descended into the river near East 86th Street around 7 p.m., NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said Sunday. It crashed in the middle of the river into about 50 feet of water, officials said. A witness posted video on Twitter showing the moment the helicopter hit the water. The aircraft is seen touching down on the river's surface and flipping onto its side as its rotor blades slice into the river.


Six people were on board when the helicopter went down, O'Neill said. The pilot was able to free himself from the aircraft, but five passengers had to be removed by FDNY and NYPD divers, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Three of the five passengers were taken to the hospital in critical condition and two were pronounced dead on the scene, Nigro said. The three people taken to the hospital were later pronounced dead, an NYPD spokesman said. The four men and one woman who died had not been identified as of Monday morning, an NYPD spokesman said. The helicopter's pilot was taken to the hospital and is "OK," Nigro said. He was identified as 33-year-old Richard Vance of Connecticut, an NYPD spokesman said. He was released from the hospital Monday morning, police said.


Carla Vallejos Blanco, was an Argentinian from Corrientes, Argentina. She graduated from the University of Cuenca del Plata with a degree in Advertising. Vance put out a distress call over his radio as the chopper was going down. "Mayday, mayday, mayday," he called to air traffic controllers at LaGuardia Airport, according to a recording published by the New York Post. The responding controller struggled to understand Vance as his radio crackled with static. "East River, engine failure," Vance said after the controller asked him to repeat himself. The LaGuardia controller still couldn't fully understand Vance's cry for help. Someone else on the radio had to explain the emergency. "He had an engine failure over the East River," one pilot said. "It was a mayday call, LaGuardia," another voice said over the radio. The five passengers were secured into their seats by harnesses and had to be cut out of the aircraft, officials said. A privately operated tug boat was the first on the scene to help, O'Neill said.


A diver is sprayed with water after attending a call of a helicopter crash in the East River on March 11, 2018 in New York. Police and fire officials said the rescue operation was made difficult due to the distance of the crash from shore, a 4 mph current, cold temperatures and the fact that the helicopter flipped upside down in the water. "It took a while for the divers to get these people out, they worked very quickly, as fast as they could," Nigro said Sunday. "It's a great tragedy that we had occur here on an otherwise quiet Sunday evening." The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, the FAA said. The NTSB sent 14 personnel to the city Monday morning to help with the investigation, the agency said on Twitter. 


Yellow buoys that a New York police officer said are suspending a helicopter that crashed into the East River float next to a NYPD police boat at a pier in New York on Sunday, March 11, 2018. The helicopter crashed into New York City's East River Sunday night and flipped upside down in the water, killing all on board except the pilot who managed to escape the sunken craft.


Trevor Cadigan's parents hope to “prevent what happened to their son from ever happening to anyone else” by stopping open-door chopper flights for taking aerial photos, said their lawyer, Gary C. Robb. The suit claims that the chopper’s inflatable floats malfunctioned and didn’t prevent it from flipping over and sinking, and the way passengers were harnessed to the chopper made escape impossible. “Imagine for a second hanging upside down in frigid water, tightly harnessed with a release that is inaccessible because the access to them is only in the back,” says Robb. “I call that a death trap.” “It is a horrible position to be in and this family wants that practice to stop,” he says. “It should never happen.”


Trevor Cadigan pictured in 2014 - Liberty Helicopters and FlyNYON, the tour company that runs the experience, both said in separate statements on their websites that they are saddened by what occurred and are fully cooperating with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation. According to the lawsuit, the pilot, Vance, allegedly failed to maintain proper control of the chopper, failed to properly perform emergency procedures and failed to properly secure personal items within the helicopter. There are reports that Vance allegedly told investigators that a passenger’s luggage or a part of a passenger’s harness tripped the fuel-control cutoff valve, which then caused the engine to die.

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Image Left - Pilot Richard Vance was the only survivor  - He believes one of his passengers' safety harnesses caused the deadly helicopter crash.Robb, a helicopter crash lawyer for 37 years,explains that “I find it highly implausible given the design of what is called the emergency fuel cutoff lever, that that could be activated by accident,” he says. “You have to raise it and move it rearward, and there is also a breakaway safety wire affixed to it to prevent what he says happened, happened,” he says. “We find his shifting explanations highly implausible.” The suit also claims Vance didn’t take reasonable steps to save the passengers after he secured his own release.


Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Sunday that rescuers struggled to remove the passengers from the chopper because they “were all tightly harnessed.” “So these harnesses had to be removed in order to get these folks off of this helicopter, which was upside down at the time and completely submerged,” he said. To escape the harness would require an expertise not taught during the group’s 10-minute safety video prior to takeoff, says Eric Adams, a photographer and writer in a different helicopter that took off from the same spot in New Jersey and at the same time. “There are giant hurdles you have to get past under duress and in seconds in order to get out of that helicopter,” he says. “They didn’t have a chance.”


Tristan Hill, who was killed in a helicopter crash in New York on March 11, 2018 and his fiancee, Eda Ozmen are seen here in this undated file photo. The harnesses went over the shoulders and around the hips, and tethered each passenger to the copter with a carabiner behind the shoulders that one can’t reach, says Adams. “You are anchored in which is great because you are super secure and you can’t go anywhere,” while taking photos out of the doorless copter, he says. A knife placed in each harness is mentioned in the safety video as a means to cut the straps, but passengers aren’t told where the knife is nor how to use it, Adams says. “In an accident situation where you are possibly injured or blinded, where there is water rushing in, you may not be able to find it,” he says. “And for someone to have the presence of mind to find the knife, get it out, understand how it works, find the strap and cut it,” he adds, “it is virtually impossible to expect someone to do that.” 

Tristan Hill, 29, who was engaged to be married, had boarded the doomed flight as part of research he was doing for a guidebook company he started called Sightsy that details different experiences for tourists, his family said.

He was initially going to take his fiancee, Eda Ozmen, on the flight, but she stayed behind at the last minute so he could take a business associate, Daniel Thompson, his family said.


On Sunday night before the flight, Adams and the other passengers met at an aviation terminal in New Jersey. After their safety briefing, an employee for FlyNYON, which runs the tours, told the group that participants in the 15-minute flight could upgrade to a 30-minute ride. Cadigan, Brian McDaniel, 26, and Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29, among the victims of the crash, all opted to switch flights, says Adams. “They said sure,” he recalls. “It is just so heartbreaking because everyone was so excited. For them it was brand new, thrilling.” The three helicopters took off within seconds of each other, Adams says, and after a tour of lower Manhattan, the copter with the victims was first to head north up the East River.

Brian McDaniel

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Brian McDaniel - The body of a Texan firefighter who died in the East River disaster was returned to his native Dallas on Tuesday — where he was hailed with a water cannon salute from his former colleagues. The plane carrying McDaniel’s body landed at Dallas Fort Worth Airport as Dallas Fire-Rescue Department trucks sent arcs of water soaring from the tarmac, Firefighters stood guard as the American flag-draped casket was transferred to a hearse, which fire trucks then accompanied to a funeral home, the outlet reports. New York’s Bravest had given McDaniel a similar hero’s sendoff a day earlier, when firefighters carried his casket out of the city Medical Examiner’s Office as FDNY smoke eaters saluted.


Emergency responders work at the scene of a helicopter crash in the East River, March 11, 2018 in New York City. - As Adams headed north, his pilot was told by air traffic control or a ground team to look for the other copter before heading west over Central Park and returning to New Jersey. It wasn’t until Adams’s copter landed that his pilot told the group that “one of the helicopters went down, it went into the water,” Adams says. “At that point [the pilot] thought everyone was okay.”
Adams and the other passengers collected their belongings from lockers. When he saw the belongings of the passengers in the missing copter, that it hit him. Says Adams: “I thought, ‘These people are in the water, they are harnessed in.'”


The N350LH helicopter shown here with no doors later crashed into the East River on Sunday. - The aircraft was owned by New Jersey-based Liberty Helicopter Tours and was chartered for a photo shoot, O'Neill said. The company said it is cooperating with the FAA and NTSB investigations and referred further questions to those agencies. "We are focused on supporting the families affected by this tragic accident and on fully cooperating with the FFA and NTSB investigations," Liberty Helicopter Tours said in a statement posted on it's website. No one came out of the helicopter for at least a minute after it went down, Brianna Jesme, who saw the crash, told the New York Daily News. "It was completely submerged," Celia Skvaril, another witness, told the Daily News. "We didn't see the helicopter anymore and then a yellow raft popped up, and again we didn't see or hear anyone until we saw a person on top of the raft screaming and yelling for help and waving."


NTSB investigators and a New York City police boat gather near yellow flotation devices attached to the skids of a submerged sightseeing helicopter that crashed a night earlier on the East River in New York, March 12, 2018. -  New York City Ferry service on the Astoria and East River routes was suspended after the crash, according to NYC Emergency Management. Sunday night's crash is the latest in New York City involving a helicopter, the Associated Press reported. It's also one of the deadliest. A 2011 crash killed a British tourist and injured three others. In July 2007, a helicopter with eight people aboard crashed during a sightseeing tour but passengers were not injured. Two helicopters crashed into the East River in one week in 2005, the Associated Press reported. One crash injured eight people and the other injured seven. Feroze Dhanoa, Brendan Krisel and Noah Manskar contributed reporting and writing. The FAA released a statement on March 20 saying they intended to impose a ban on open-door passenger flights that use harnesses which could not be released quickly. 

In 2009, a sightseeing helicopter of the same model and operated by the same company as the one in Sunday’s wreck collided with a small, private plane over the Hudson River, killing nine people, including a group of Italian tourists.

A crash in October 2011 in the East River killed a British woman visiting the city for her 40th birthday. Two other passengers died weeks later as a result of their injuries. Daniel Thompson, 34, earned his bachelor's degree in arts administration from Butler in 2006, according to his LinkedIn account and a Butler spokeswoman.

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A Turkish Cougar helicopter like the one that crashed on Wednesday, 31 May - Thirteen military personnel died after after a Turkish military helicopter crashed in southeastern Şırnak province after being tangled in high tension power lines shortly after take off late Wednesday, the military said. Turkey's military confirm 13 soldiers have died in a helicopter crash near the border with Iraq. A military statement said the AS532 Cougar helicopter crashed on Wednesday 31st May 2017 shortly after taking off from a base in the region of Senoba in Sirnak province. It said initial information indicated that the helicopter hit a high-voltage transmission line. The governor's office for the province of Sirnak said the helicopter crashed near the town of Uludere, three minutes after taking off. The helicopter crashed at 8:55pm (17:55 GMT), the military said, adding that an investigation was under way. Turkey's chief of staff, General Hulusi Akar, traveled to the region to carry out an inspection, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. 


SIRNAK, TURKEY - JUNE 01: A funeral ceremony held for Turkish soldiers who were martyred in a helicopter crash in southeast Turkey, during the funeral ceremony at 23rd Gendarmerie Border Division Command in Sirnak, Turkey on June 01, 2017.  Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, Defence Minister Fikri Isik and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu were also travelling to the region, it added. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly been briefed about the accident after chairing the country's top National Security Council meeting in Ankara. The crash occurred as Turkish troops are engaged in operations against Kurdish fighters in a mountainous region of Sirnak province. In March, seven people, including four Russians, were killed when a privately owned helicopter crashed in Istanbul after hitting a television tower.


SIRNAK, TURKEY - JUNE 01: Soldiers carry the Turkish flag-draped coffins of 7 of 13 soldiers who were martyred in a helicopter crash in southeast Turkey, during the funeral ceremony at 23rd Gendarmerie Border Division Command in Sirnak, Turkey on June 01, 2017. 


Image Above - Chris Cline - NASSAU, Bahamas — A helicopter carrying seven Americans to Fort Lauderdale, Florida crashed Thursday July 4th, 2019 off Grand Cay island in the Bahamas, killing everyone on aboard, Bahamian police said. A statement from the Royal Bahamas Police Force said the helicopter went missing shortly after leaving Big Grand Cay and authorities and local residents later found the crash site two miles off Grand Cay. Police identified those killed as four women and three men but did not provide names at the time. 


Authorities now say it could take up to 24 months to determine what caused the chopper crash that killed Chris Cline, his daughter and five others. Authorities have recovered the damaged helicopter that crashed in the Bahamas and will make a thorough inspection. Cline, a 60-year-old coal tycoon, and his group of six crashed into the water shortly after leaving Grand Cay in the Bahamas, There were no survivors and authorities are inspecting the aircraft as part of their investigation. Bahamas Police spokeswoman Shanta Knowles said she did not believe there was a distress call before the aircraft went down, The weather was reported by The Palm Beach post as not being an issue.

Image Above - Kameron Cline

Local authorities have since handed over the investigation to the National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. “The helicopter is in a secure location protected from the elements,” Eric Weiss, an NTSB spokesman, tells PEOPLE. “We’re just beginning the investigation so we won’t have any probable cause [of the crash] until the end of the investigation which could take 12 to 24 months.” Cline and his 22-year-old daughter, Kameron Cline, were among the seven victims. News reports identified the other five killed as David Jude (Golfer) and Geoffrey Painter, both with a helicopter company, as well as Jillian Clark, Brittney Searson and Delaney Wykle, Kameron’s friends.


Image Above - David Jude was a keen golfer.

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Image Above - Jillian Clark


Cline’s daughter, Kameron, and her best friend, Brittney Searson, were “inseparable” at The Benjamin School in Palm Beach, Fla., before continuing their studies at Louisiana State University together, - First image Brittney Searson Left - Kameron Cline Right - Second Image - Kameron Cline Left - Brittney Searson Right.


Authorities have said the Clines’ helicopter took off for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, around 2 a.m. on Thursday and was reported missing nearly 13 hours later at 2:50 p.m. The group had flown to the Bahamas for the holiday and relatives reported the group missing when they didn’t make it back to Florida, Bahamian authorities found the chopper in the water near the Abaco Islands, not far from Grand Cay. 

Geoff Painter of West Palm Beach, Florida, formerly of Kingston upon Hull, England died tragically on July 4, 2019. He was born October 30, 1966 in Barnstaple, England. He is survived by his wife Debbie, son Mark, mother Janet Painter of Little Weighton, England and cousin Alison Wells of London, England.

Geoff was accepted into the Royal Air Force as an Officer Cadet in 1989 and was stationed at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, England. On leaving the RAF Geoff worked in financial staff recruitment, before opening his own recruitment agency in Kingston upon Hull which he ran successfully for 10 years. Seeking another career change, in 2003, Geoff decided to return to his real passion, flying, choosing helicopters over fixed wing aircraft. After completing his helicopter flight training in Florida he worked as a helicopter Flight Instructor before establishing Cloud 9 with his business partner in 2005.

Geoff’s first passion was always his family, whom he loved dearly. In addition to his zeal for flying, he also enjoyed clay and game shooting, fast cars and was an ardent England Rugby Union fan. Geoff was a friend to everyone he met and a mentor to many. He was always generous with his time and energy, and encouraged and facilitated the dreams of others, helping them realize their full potential. Geoff will be greatly missed by all that knew him. Blue skies & tail winds forever!

Geoff’s Celebration of Life Service will be held from 5:00pm to 9:00pm on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at Quattlebaum Funeral, Cremation and Event Center, 6411 Parker Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL, 33405.


One of the victims of the Bahamas helicopter crash was set to be the maid of honor in her sister’s wedding, friends told The Post. Delaney Wykle, 22, who recently graduated from West Virginia University, helped throw a bridal shower for her only sister, Makayla, days before she traveled to Cline’s private island for a July 4 celebration, friends said. She was joining Cline’s 22-year-old daughter, Kameron, whom she met in grade school in West Virginia before the heiress moved to Florida. “They remained friends. They were beautiful, kind girls,” said family friend Tammy Cline, who is a distant relative of the entrepreneur. But their trip was cut short when Kameron experienced a medical emergency, prompting her dad to try to rush her to a Florida airport in his chopper. She had boarded the helicopter to lend a hand since she had passed her nursing board exams earlier in the week.


Image Above - Delaney Wykle


Cline seemed to love the beach since she posted many pictures on social media of her at different beaches and she wrote on Facebook that she liked wake boarding. It appears that Cline took her three friends to a group of islands her dad, Chris Cline, owned in the Bahamas for the Fourth of July weekend. 

In this handout photo provided by the Bahamas ZNS Network, a recovery team stands by at the wreckage site where a helicopter carrying four women and three men, including billionaire coal entrepreneur Chris Cline and his daughter, crashed outside a string of islands Cline owned in the Bahamas, Friday, July 5, 2019. The bodies of the four women and three men were recovered and taken to the Bahamian capital of Nassau to be officially identified. (Krystel Knowles/Bahamas ZNS Network via AP)


Christopher Cline (July 5, 1958 – July 4, 2019) was an American billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist. He had been the majority owner of Foresight Reserves LP, headquartered in St.Louis, Missouri. Regarded by Bloomberg as having been the "New King Coal", Cline was considered to have been responsible for reviving the Illinois  coal industry. His company has more than three billion tons of coal reserves across Illinois and the Northern Appalachian Mountains. Cline became an underground miner in 1980, at age 22, and founded his own energy development company, the Cline Group in 1990. In 2006 he organized Foresight Energy  to manage his Illinois Basin coal rights. Foresight Energy went public in 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange. Cline sold off most of his share of Foresight in 2015, for $1.4 billion. Cline's grandfather mined for coal with a pickaxe around Beckley West Virginia in the early 20th century and this got Cline interested in the coal trade. His father bought out his partner then gave the shares to Cline, who was then 21 years old. At that time, he was studying psychology at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.


The helicopter took off from the tiny island of Grand Cay in the Bahamas (Circled)

Greg Vandermeulen

July 19, 2019

There is a song written by Emerson Lake and Palmer. The song is called “Lucky Man”. It is a short song about a man that left us too soon. 
I first met Geoff Painter about the time he started cloud 9. I had just moved to Jupiter Florida. Like most wanabe pilots all you needed was the desire to fly, the desire to learn and a boat load of money. I spoke with Geoff about pursuing my flying career. He was very knowledgeable and very personable. I thought wow, what a nice guy and how impressive, he started his own flight school. Doing what he loved. “WHAT A LUCKY MAN HE WAS”
My boat load of money was gone, but I wanted to introduce my son to flying. I called Geoff to set up a demo flight. Geoff knew the flight was not going to lead to a new student, but man I tell you Geoff was happy to let my son attempt to hover for the first time in the R22. After the flight I could tell by the look on Geoff’s face that he was genuinely happy to have introduced my son to Helicopter flight. “WHAT A LUCKY MAN HE WAS”
I have seen Geoff out flying Helicopters most pilots only dream of flying. “WHAT A LUCKY MAN HE WAS” Adding my Instrument rating with Cloud 9, I had the opportunity to get to know the backbone of the operation, Geoff’s wife; Debbie. Chatting with Debbie I learned that they have been together for many years and had a son. “WHAT A LUCKY MAN HE WAS” 
I enjoyed seeing pictures of flights Geoff posted on social media. I can tell you pictures do not convey the beauty and the feeling you get when you are up there. “WHAT A LUCKY MAN HE WAS” 
TIME is the most precious commodity in the universe. I am glad I had the opportunity to spend a little time with Geoff. Now whenever I play the song “LUCKY MAN” I will think of Geoff. 
Rest in Peace Geoff.  To Geoff's family : My thoughts are with you.

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