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Prince William reveals close friend Mark Jenkins and his son are tragically killed in plane crash while flying over Kenyan national park

  • Mr Jenkins, a conservationist, was killed in the crash on Thursday in Kenya
  • The Prince of Wales paid a personal tribute to his friend on social media
  • Mr Jenkins and his son were carrying out an aerial patrol to protect wildlife 

A close friend of Prince William and Kate Middleton has died in a plane crash during an aerial patrol as part of his conservation work, the Duke of Cambridge confirmed on Friday evening.

Pilot Mark Jenkins and his son Peter were flying over Tsavo National Park in Kenya when their plane came down.

The Prince of Wales paid tribute to his friend, describing Mark Jenkins as someone who had ‘dedicated his life’ to protecting wildlife in East Africa.

He said Mr Jenkins had been killed alongside his son Peter as they flew over Tsavo National Park on an aerial patrol.

In a personal tweet from the Kensington Royal account, William wrote: ‘Yesterday, I lost a friend, who dedicated his life to protecting wildlife in some of East Africa’s most renowned national parks. 

Mark Jenkins was a friend of the Prince and Princess of Wales and 'dedicated his life' to protecting African wildlife

Mark Jenkins was a friend of the Prince and Princess of Wales and ‘dedicated his life’ to protecting African wildlife

‘Mark Jenkins, and his son Peter, were tragically killed when flying over Tsavo National Park while conducting an aerial patrol.

‘Tonight, I’m thinking about Mark’s wife, family and colleagues who’ve sadly lost a man we all loved and admired. W.’

The Frankfurt Zoological Society, which previously employed Mr Jenkins, said the pair were killed during a flight for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an NGO.

It added Mr Jenkins was a ‘lifelong conservationist and experienced bush pilot’ who had conservation ‘in his blood’. 

A statement on the society’s website said: ‘Passionate, principled, and strong-willed, Mark was never afraid to speak his mind and stand for what he believed in. 

‘He was a commanding presence and made an indelible impression wherever he went. 

‘Those of us who worked alongside him remember him for his determination, thoughtfulness, his energy, his mischievous smile, and his deep love of wildlife and wild places. 

‘We will miss his warmth, his hilarious stories, and his sometimes rather irreverent comments which always made us smile. Mark was a devoted husband and father and leaves behind his wife, and his son.

‘Our deepest condolences go to his family, who tragically lost two beloved family members, to their friends, and to all conservationists who knew Mark and worked with him. 

‘Our heartfelt condolences go also to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the NGO for which Mark did yesterday’s patrol flight.’

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The park is almost 22,000 square kilometres and is the largest national park in Kenya – and one of the biggest in the world, according to the official website.

It is made up of two separate parks, Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park, in the Coast Province of Kenya between Nairobi City and Mombasa.

The website states that the park is home to red elephants and large open spaces.

This story is being updated. 

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