The Dalai Lama has offered his condolences and prayers to all the families and loved ones of the 24 people from Nepal, Canada, Australia, the United States, Finland and Russia who died in a helicopter crash in Nepal on September 23, 2006. The accident took place when the group, which included a Minister of the Nepalese Government, officials of USAID, and staff of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), was returning after inaugurating a conservation project in the areas surrounding Mt. Kanchenjunga. Among those who died was a Tibetan, Yeshi Choden Lama, who was working as a Senior Program Officer of WWF Nepal.
In a message to a memorial service organized by WWF US at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on November 30, 2006, which was read by WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts, the Dalai Lama said he would join the ceremony “in remembering all those who died in this untimely tragedy.” Calling himself a “long-term admirer of the work of the WWF” the Dalai Lama said “the loss of seven dedicated and experienced members of your team will be a great blow to their colleagues and will be sorely felt by many others working with them.”
Following is the full text of the Dalai Lama’s message, as circulated by WWF.
Message from the Dalai Lama
I have been deeply saddened to learn about the twenty-four people who lost their lives in Nepal as a result of the tragic helicopter accident on September 23, 2006.
We have, as requested, offered prayers here on their behalf and I shall join with you during the memorial service in remembering all those who died in this untimely tragedy. I am a long-term admirer of the work of the WWF and I imagine that the loss of seven dedicated and experienced members of your team will be a great blow to their colleagues and will be sorely felt by many others working with them. Above all, my hearfelt condolences and prayers go out to all the families and loved ones of those who died on this tragic occasion.
The Dalai Lama
November 21, 2006