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Deadly chopper crash in Africa claims life of man raised in Dekalb County

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Kyle Forti was seen as a rising star in Republican politics in the state of Colorado.

He died a young man on Sunday when a helicopter crashed in Kenya.

It’s a tragedy half a world away, being felt right here in northeast Indiana.

Kyle Forti, who was raised in Dekalb County, and three other Americans were on board the helicopter, along with the pilot.

There were no survivors in the crash.

Red Cross workers were part of the effort to recover the victims.

At last report, there was no cause for the crash.

It happened in a national park known as a magnet for international tourists drawn to see its colony of Nile crocodiles and vast wildlife.

“I guess the easiest thing to say is, I’m still really in shock,” said Allen County councilman Kyle Kerley, who is part of a group of young Republican leaders from this area flying to Colorado for a skiing excursion.

They were supposed to meet up with Forti before the deadly accident.

Forti and his wife had moved to Colorado, had a young son, and were foster parents.

“He was really a bright spot in this world, always positive, always looking out for the neighbor,” Kerley said.

The Denver Post wrote an article on the political consultant, characterizing him as a “prolific figure in Colorado Republican politics”.

We’re told he helped out with state senate campaigns for Jim Banks years ago.

Banks is now northeast Indiana’s representative in Congress.

In 2007, as a teenager, Forti worked for the Matt Kelty for Mayor campaign.

Kelty lost the general election to Democrat Tom Henry.

Kelty shared “Kyle arrived as a volunteer in my campaign and, despite his youth, quickly distinguished himself. He was very bright, very hard-working and very reliable. Knowing of his death causes me great sadness.”

Deadly air mishaps have been happening with frequency in Kenya.

Five people, including two American tourists, were killed last month after a small plane crashed in a Kenyan forest, and another crash in the country in July killed ten others.

An investigation has been ordered in the helicopter crash that killed Forti and four others on the flight.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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