ENVIRONMENT

3 dead as chopper crashes in Central African Republic park

A group that runs 10 national wildlife parks in Africa says a helicopter it chartered in Central African Republic has crashed, killing all three people on board.

African Parks said Wednesday that the aircraft was being used for law enforcement work in Chinko, a park that the Johannesburg-based group manages in the eastern part of the country.

The group says the helicopter crashed while approaching a landing strip on Tuesday evening. An investigation is underway.

African Parks has identified the dead as pilot Shaun Barendsen; David Fine, the park's law enforcement head; and Fine's deputy, Mbenga-Nzongomblo Ponce Pilate.

The group says on its website that it has established the park's first law enforcement unit, comprising 60 rangers. It says the park is vulnerable to ivory poachers and cattle farmers.