Three MSH Employees Die in Plane Crash outside Kabul, Afghanistan

CAMBRIDGE, MA (FEBRUARY 4, 2005)  MSH is deeply saddened today to announce that three of its employees - Cristin (Cristi) Gadue, Amy Lynn Niebling, and Carmen Urdaneta - have died after their plane crashed 35 miles outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. On February 3, the three boarded a flight from Herat, in the west of Afghanistan, bound for Kabul. Due to severe weather conditions, the plane was not permitted to land in Kabul and was diverted to Pakistan. The plane crashed 35 miles outside of Kabul. All indications are that weather was the cause of the crash, and there appear to be no survivors.

Comments Dr. Jonathan Quick, President and CEO of Management Sciences for Health: "Cristi, Amy, and Carmen were vibrant, committed young women, each doing great work. They each stood out as professionals who worked with exceptional energy and enthusiasm. They each had made a tremendous commitment to helping people who were less fortunate. In the last call to Kabul before they left Herat, Cristi expressed for the three a great sense of satisfaction with what they had achieved. In this time of grief, we can be thankful that Cristi, Amy, and Carmen were able to devote themselves to work that they loved and truly believed in doing."

Boston-based Carmen Urdaneta, a Senior Communications Associate at MSH, arrived in Kabul on January 10. She was in the country to help develop a comprehensive communications plan for MSH's USAID-funded Rural Expansion of Afghanistan's Community-based Healthcare Program (REACH), conducting interviews and gathering information to be used for press releases, feature stories, and other communication pieces. Communications Associate Amy Niebling, also based in Boston, arrived in Kabul on January 10 and focused on gathering information and photos from REACH work sites that would be used to expand the program's presence on the MSH website. In Afghanistan, Carmen and Amy worked closely with Cristi Gadue, the REACH Reporting and Communications Officer based in Kabul.

Click here to learn more about REACH

Cristin (Cristi) Gadue
Cristi Gadue

Cristi Gadue joined MSH in 2000, after earning a BA in International Development from Boston's Tufts University in 2000. As a member of MSH's New Business Development Office, Cristi's team developed proposals that resulted in new MSH initiatives in countries that included Afghanistan, Malawi, and Senegal. In 2003, she applied for and won the prestigious Paul Alexander Fellowship, a three-month travel posting that gives US-based MSH employees the opportunity to gain valuable public health field-experience at an MSH field site. Cristi chose to work with the REACH Program in Afghanistan, and she arrived in Kabul in September 2003. At the conclusion of her fellowship, she was offered a permanent position with REACH, and she returned to Kabul in April of 2004. As the Reporting and Communications Officer for REACH, Cristi was responsible for disseminating key program information to USAID. She was managing REACH's internal communications efforts. Cristi, a native of Burlington, Vermont, was 26 years old.


Amy Lynn Niebling
Amy Lynn Niebling
Amy Niebling joined MSH in 2004 as Senior Program Assistant in the Communications Department. She earned a BA in English and Communications from St. Mary's University in San Antonio in 1998 and an MA in International and Intercultural Communications from Denver University in 2004. Amy was recently promoted to Communications Associate, where she was part of a team responsible for developing and steering MSH's overall communications efforts, including developing media contacts to increase awareness of MSH's global activities. Amy brought with her to MSH extensive experience as a communications professional, having previously worked at Denver's Project CURE; Somerville, MA-based Spectrum Media; and the Institute for Central American Development Studies. Amy was 29 years old and was recently married. The trip to Afghanistan was her first field assignment for MSH. Amy lived in Somerville and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska.

Carmen Urdaneta
Carmen Urdaneta
Senior Communications Associate Carmen Urdaneta began working at MSH in 1999, after earning an MPH in International Health from Boston University in 1997 and a BS in Biology from the University of Kansas in 1994. Carmen worked as a Boston-based Communications Associate for MSH's Family Planning Management Program, before moving to Pretoria, South Africa in 2001 to serve as Director of Communications for the firm's Equity Project. She returned to Boston in late 2003, where she became Senior Communications Associate at MSH. In this role, Carmen was a key member of the team responsible for developing and implementing communications strategies for MSH's various global health programs. She traveled extensively, visiting program sites throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America to capture firsthand the impact of MSH initiatives. Carmen is well known in the global health community for both her writing and photography: her stories have been featured in a variety of publications, and she was a finalist in several photography competitions. Carmen was 32 years old and lived in Brookline. She was born in Venezuela and raised in Kansas.