Prince William Mourning Loss of Close Friend After Tragic Plane Crash

Prince William is mourning the loss of a close friend after the man and his son died in a tragic plane crash. In a post on the official Kensington Palace Twitter account, William paid tribute to his Mark Jenkins, who died while flying over Tsavo National Park in Kenya, per The Daily Mail. "Yesterday, I lost a friend, who dedicated his life to protecting wildlife in some of East Africa's most renowned national parks," William wrote.

"Mark Jenkins, and his son Peter, were tragically killed when flying over Tsavo National Park while conducting an aerial patrol," he continued. Tonight, I'm thinking about Mark's wife, family and colleagues who've sadly lost a man we all loved and admired." According to reports, Jenkins and his son were carrying out aerial reconnaissance for a charity organization that protects elephants from poachers and rescues orphaned elephants.

The Daily Mail also shared a statement from The Frankfurt Zoological Society, a group that Jenkins previously worked alongside. The organization memorialized Jenkins, saying he was a "lifelong conservationist and experienced bush pilot" with conservation "in his blood." The statement continued,  "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," the group added. "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."

Finally, the organization offered, "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." 

In a separate statement, Charlie Mayhew — the founder and CEO of African conservation charity Tusk — wrote, "Devastated to hear of the tragic deaths of the hugely respected wildlife warden Mark Jenkins and his son Peter whilst on aerial patrol over Tsavo Nat Park in Kenya. [Tusk] is proud to have supported Mark's work in Meru and Niassa over the years. Conservation has lost a giant."