UK pilot dies after being shot down by Tanzania poachers

LONDON (AFP) - A British pilot has died in Tanzania after his helicopter was downed by elephant poachers, the charity he worked for said Saturday (Jan 30).

Roger Gower died on Friday and is thought to have been flying in the Maswa Game Reserve, located along the boundary of the Serengeti National Park.

"Roger was killed while piloting a helicopter during a coordinated effort with the Tanzanian wildlife authorities to track down and arrest active elephant poachers," said a statement from Dan Friedkin, chairman of the Friedkin Conservation Fund.

"In the course of this action, the poachers fired upon the helicopter and Roger was fatally wounded." The BBC quoted Pratik Patel of the fund as saying that Gower had been approaching the last of three elephants which had been killed by poachers when the incident happened.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Gower had given up his job as an accountant in London to retrain as a pilot.

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