Dutch Diplomat, Family Die in Desert ParkABDOULAYE GANDEMA , Associated Press
May. 2, 1996 6:00 PM ET
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) _ A Dutch diplomat, his wife and their two children died of dehydration after they became stranded in an isolated desert park in this West African nation, officials said Thursday.
Their bodies were discovered Saturday in the Pama national park, about 180 miles southeast of the capital, Ouagadougou, after the Dutch Embassy launched an air search.
Arnold Eisma, 37, first secretary at the Dutch Embassy; his wife, Gaby Eisma-Poeteray, 33; and their daughters Morgane, 4, and 20-month-old Soraya, died of dehydration, according to Dutch government officials in Burkina Faso and Amsterdam.
According to an embassy spokesman in Ouagadougou, the family had set out on a driving holiday April 4 and planned to travel through Benin, Ghana and Togo. They were to drive back to Ouagadougou through Pama, an isolated park on the border with Benin.
It appeared they became lost in their vehicle, ran out of gas, and were unable to find assistance.
It was the second time in a year foreigners have died in the desert country's sparsely populated national parks, which tourism officials recommend visiting with local guides who know the area.
In December, the remains of a British woman were discovered several months after she was reported missing in a park in the far east of the country, near the Niger border. She also died of dehydration.
Eisma had been the embassy's first secretary _ the No. 2 official at the mission _ since January 1995. Flags at the Ouagadougou embassy flew at half-staff Thursday.