Helicopter crash kills area man in Kenya

March 5, 2019 GMT

Ann Forti spoke through tears Monday as she described her 29-year-old son, whose life was cut short by a helicopter crash in an east African country.

Kyle John Forti, formerly of St. Joe in DeKalb County, was among four Americans who died Sunday on an island in Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.

The oldest of eight children, Kyle Forti traveled to Africa last week at the invitation of a childhood friend, his mother said.

Ann Forti repeated a comment her brother had made after hearing the news.

″‘I don’t know anyone else who could pack so much life into 29 years,’” she said, adding that people should “raise a glass” and toast her son’s life.


After graduating from Hillsdale College in Michigan, Kyle Forti moved to Colorado. There, the state Department of Human Services in 2017 recognized him and his wife, Hope, for their dedication to children in foster care. The couple welcomed their first son, Max, when they decided to become foster parents, according to the agency.

In 2014, Red Alert Politics included Kyle Forti in its annual 30 Under 30 list highlighting “young, right-of-center people who are making a difference on their campuses and in their communities.” His biography on the site indicated he held degrees in political science and Christian studies and founded a campaign strategies firm in Colorado.  

He later co-founded D/CO Consulting, which the Denver Post has described as a Republican political communications firm.

The Denver Post reported on Kyle Forti’s death Monday, calling him “one of Colorado’s premier Republican campaign managers.”

Ann Forti said her son wouldn’t shy away from talking about God, man’s responsibility to God and man’s responsibility to humanity.

“Kyle had a zest, a passion for life,” she said. “He had a passion for humanity and the human soul.”

The helicopter crash occurred Sunday night in Central Island National Park as two helicopters took off after visiting a camp.

One helicopter lost contact and crashed soon after takeoff around 8:30 p.m. A search and rescue mission found the wreckage shortly after 3 a.m.

The cause of the crash, which also killed a Kenyan pilot, is under investigation.

The U.S. Embassy confirmed four Americans died but has named only three. The others named are Anders Asher Jesiah Burke and Brandon Howe Stapper.

Ann Forti said Burke was the friend who welcomed her son on the vacation.


The Washington Post contributed to this story.