Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RIP Tim Hetherington...a great one has been lost

I echo Sebastian Junger's words, " “I can’t believe he’s truly gone.”....I was moved by the work Tim did on Restrepo and we are a smaller world for losing someone who gave do much of himself to others.

The enclosed picture shows Tim on the right with Sebastian Junger at COP RESTREPO in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan

Restrepo’ director and acclaimed photographer killed in fighting in Libya
Washington Post -20April 2011

The journalists had accompanied rebel fighters to Tripoli Street in the city center, which Gaddafi’s forces pounded with mortars in an attempt to retake the strategic road that divides that city. An ambulance rushed Hetherington and Guy Martin, a British freelance photographer working for the agency Panos, from the battle to the makeshift triage tent adjacent to the Hikma hospital about 5 p.m. Hetherington arrived bleeding heavily from his leg and looking very pale.

“Come with me. Come with me. Everybody is injured,” American photographer Katie Orlinsky, who had seen the attack, shouted to ambulance drivers, imploring them to return to the scene. Her bulletproof vest was splattered with blood. “I’ll come with you. I’ll show you where they are.”

As she sought help, doctors attended to Hetherington and Martin, who had suffered a stomach wound and remained in surgery Wednesday evening. About 15 minutes after the ambulance’s arrival, doctors in the tent pronounced Hetherington dead.

About 10 minutes later, another ambulance carried Hondros and Michael Christopher Brown, who also suffered shrapnel wounds, to the triage unit. Doctors examining a scan of Hondros’s brain explained that shrapnel had hit the photographer in the forehead and passed through the back of his head. They asked a reporter at the hospital to look after his battered helmet. Brown’s medical condition was considered less dire.

The group of American and British photojournalists were following rebels into heavy fighting. “I told them not to gather,” one rebel outside the tent recalled advising the photographers about the dangers of sticking too close together. “They hit groups. I told them not to.”

Emma Daly, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch, confirmed Hondros’s death.
Hetherington’s family released a statement mourning their loss: “It is with great sadness we learned that our son and brother photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington was killed today in Misrata , Libya by a rocket-propelled grenade.” They added, “Tim was in Libya to continue his ongoing multimedia project to highlight humanitarian issues during time of war and conflict. He will be forever missed.”

Cathy L. Saypol, Hetherington’s manager, said in an interview that she learned of his death as she spoke on the phone with author Sebastian Junger, with whom Hetherington had directed the Oscar-nominated documentary.

“There is no way to expres my devestation and sorrow at the death of my dear friend,” Junger said in a statement. He added, “I can’t believe he’s truly gone.”
Hetherington and Junger were recently in Libya together, working on an assignment for Vanity Fair, according Beth Kseniak, a spokeswoman for the magazine. Hetherington was not on assignment for the magazine at the time of his death, she said.

Hetherington and Hondros are the third and fourth reporters, and the first Western journalists, killed in Libya since fighting began in February, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Hetherington, the recipient of the 2007 World Press Photo Award for his photos of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan for Vanity Fair, reported on the heavy bombardment earlier in the week via his Twitter account. “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata,” he wrote. “Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

“It is overall quite bad,” Gypsy Guillen Kaiser, a spokeswoman for the committee, said of the situation in Libya. “As we speak, there are journalists — at least 18 — missing and detained, and we don’t know their fate.”

Last week, Hondros arrived in Misurata by hitching a ride on the Ionian Spirit, a ship dispatched to evacuate foreign workers from the embattled city. During the voyage, he and Hetherington helped prepare lunch bags and wrapped sandwiches for the workers who were expected to board. Hondros told the colleagues about his recent engagement to a woman from New York. “I don’t want to be a really old dad,” he confided.

On Wednesday evening, that same vessel waited at port in Misurata for another cargo of migrant workers but was enlisted for a different mission. Before Hondros died, the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch reached out to the ship’s handlers and asked whether it could be used to ferry Hondros and Martin back to Benghazi for additional medical care. Instead, the bodies of Hetherington and Hondros were due to leave aboard the Ionian Spirit on Wednesday evening

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