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28 March 2001 Issue
Greenpeace Founder Dies in Crash

from - rabbit@iinet.net.au 

THE Canadian founder of the environmental campaign group Greenpeace, David McTaggart, was killed today [March 24, 2001] in a car crash near his home in Italy.

McTaggart's car was in a collision with another car carrying two people at Castiglione del Lago, in the central region of Umbria, police said.

The driver of the other car, 71-year-old Dino Belli, died in hospital soon after the crash. Belli's 74-year-old wife was in a critical condition in Perugia hospital, doctors said.

McTaggart, 68, was traveling alone when the accident happened. He had lived in Umbria for several years at a farm near the town of Paciano.

"We are all deeply shocked by this news. Greenpeace would not be what it is today without his amazing force behind it," Greenpeace's interim international executive director, Gerd Leipold, said in a statement issued in Amsterdam.

McTaggart co-founded Greenpeace in 1972 as a direct action organization, initially to protest against French nuclear tests at Moruroa in the South Pacific in 1972.

Pressure from the organization finally resulted in the atmospheric nuclear tests being canceled.

In a statement, the group also described him as key to the campaign to stop commercial whaling and the creation of the South Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

"His work to achieve lasting protection of Antarctica from commercial exploitation of it's mineral wealth is perhaps one of his greatest triumphs," the group said.

"Greenpeace would be unthinkable without his force of personality. He built up the organization into the international pressure group it is today, opening offices in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, when no one believed it possible," added Leipold.

"Not only is he a great loss to Greenpeace, but also to the environmental movement worldwide."

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