RCMP officer’s body found in rubble in Haiti, another still missing
By Salim Jiwa
OTTAWA – (Update) Searcher have found the body of one of two RCMP officers missing in Haiti, RCMP have confirmed.
RCMP are continuing a major search for a second senior officer still missing in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that virtually cracked open the capital Port-au-Prince.
“Unfortunately, I have the sad task of confirming that we have located the remains of Sgt. Mark Gallagher in the rubble of his residence in Port au Prince,” said RCMP Commissioner William Elliott who hours earlier had issued an optimistic statement.
“This is devastating news for Mark’s immediate family and those of us in the RCMP. My profound sympathies go out to Mark’s wife Lisa and their children Shane and Heather,” said Elliott.
“Mark’s remains were identified visually by a contingent colleague working in collaboration with the search team at his residence. We are now doing everything possible to recover Mark’s body, and arrange for his repatriation,” he said.
“We still hold out hope that we will find Supt Douglas Coates alive,” he added.
B.C. RCMP officers issued a statement expressing their grief for the death of their colleague.
“This afternoon, RCMP employees across British Columbia were saddened by news that our colleague, Sgt. Mark Gallagher, was confirmed as one of the many souls lost during the earthquake in Haiti,” said a statement from Vancouver headquarters.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mark’s family during this most difficult time. As we mourn Mark’s passing, we also remain hopeful that Supt. Douglas Coates will be found alive.”
“On behalf of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, I extend our deepest sympathies to Mark’s family, friends and colleagues. Mark’s RCMP family is heart broken, and there are no words that can describe the incredible loss all of us are feeling today. We ask that you keep Mark’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers,” said deputy commissioner Steve Graham.
Gallagher, who was media relations officer for Nova Scotia RCMP prior to his tour of duty in Haiti, was found after “countless hours of searching, Sergeant Gallagher’s body was found in the collapsed building he was housed in after rescue efforts were able to clear away the rubble and debris..”
As RCMP carried out their search for the missing cop, there is word that missing former Former Liberal MP Serge Marcil was injured and is in transit seeking medical help. He was to have stayed at the hotel Montana which collapsed.
Three other Canadians are confirmed dead.
Meanwhile, the U.N. Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH confirms that 14 fatalities are confirmed and 56 other staff members are injured. The U.N. headquarters building known as Hotel Christopher collapsed.
It is feared as many as 150 U.N. officer may be inside the rubble.
Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, confirmed that Hédi Annabi, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), had been in his Christopher Hotel headquarters building in Port-au-Prince at the time of the earthquake.
Hedi Annabi is a special friend of Canada’s Governor General Michaëlle Jean.
“We still have no news of our dear friend, Hédi Annabi, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Haiti. All we know is that he was with his colleagues in the United Nations’ headquarters, which collapsed,” she said in a statement.
Canada and the United States have begun sending military hardware and troops to Haiti.
The U.S. announced USS Carl Vinson – an aircraft carrier will be on location by Friday. The 82nd Airborne is sending a brigade and 2,000 Marines are being dispatched aboard an amphibian vessel.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the need for help in immediate and it is massive. The early need is for food, medicines and drinking water as well as search and rescue teams.
Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “We are deeply saddened by reports of Canadian casualties resulting from the earthquake in Haiti. Unfortunately, the reality in the aftermath of the catastrophic events is that we expect more casualties to be reported as search and rescue operations unfold.”
“On the ground, more than 100 Canadians have taken refuge at our embassy in Haiti, and another 48 are being assisted elsewhere in Haiti.
“I can confirm that Canada is taking the appropriate steps to evacuate Canadians from Haiti.
“Later today, the first wave of approximately 100 Canadian evacuees will arrive in the Dominican Republic. They will continue on to Montreal to arrive late this evening. They will travel on the Hercules aircraft that flew to Haiti yesterday. Over the next few days, we hope to evacuate as many Canadians as possible as we continue our operations in Haiti,” he said.
“In conclusion, I can say I am moved by the generosity of Canadians and the outpouring of support. I want to thank the Canadian people.
Copyright 2009, Vancouverite News Service. Use this article on your blog or website for just $5. News organizations pay $25. To reproduce or distribute, click: http://vancouverite.icopyright.com