In Loving Memory of Michael Channer
"Happy memories from Robin Pope Safaris, Zambia"
17 Sept 2004
The staff at Robin Pope Safaris were priviledged enough to be acquainted with Mike during his time flying in South Luangwa, Zambia. Mike would stay with us at the safari camp after he had finished work for the day. Over this period, we got to know him as an easy going, gentle, kind young man who was a lot of fun.
Memories of Mike - some pleasant evenings were had relaxing by the camp's bar, which overlooks the Luangwa river. He very much enjoyed watching this safari scene, observing elephants, hippos, crocodiles and giraffes with a chilled 'Mosi' (Zambian beer) comfortably in his hand as the African sun went down. We also had some hilarious nights playing cards together. The RPS staff invented card game names for everyone and the pilot was named 'Mile long Mike', much to the amusement of all with many rather rude innuendos ensuing and Mike chuckled away in his soft Canadian lilt.
The staff and pilots would sometimes go to a restaurant/ bar named 'Flat Dogs', which is a 20 minute drive from the camp. One memory that stands out was when Mike drove a few of us there one evening in his allocated 'pilots car' - a low clearance city car which is completely unsuitable for the demanding, dusty, pot-holed roads of South Luangwa. We spent the journey bouncing around dodging pot holes with mouthfuls of dust as one of the windows was jammed open and a light that kept flashing on and off which Mike could do nothing about. Added to this, the fuel had almost run out so we imagined ourselves stranded in the bush for the night surrounded by wild animals until someone rescued us. Our situation was so ridiculous that we giggled all the way there. Our quiet drink turned into a night of revelry as Mike persuaded (in his usual gentle manner but persuasion none the less!)the girls in the group to clamber up onto the bar and dance (after a few drinks, of course!). The girls enjoyed themselves so much that after a while Mike was dragged up as well (with little protest...).It is fair to say that Mike was no John Travolta, but of course it's the taking part that counts and Mike definitely got himself involved during his time staying with RPS.
Once, Mike had the morning off and some of us drove around the local town looking at the markets, local Zambian bars and a textiles company. At one stop, a local teacher, Macy, asked Mike for a lift to her school, so we all made room for her. Macy had never flown before and probably never would have, had not Mike pulled a few strings and offered to take her flying that day. Not only can she now tell her pupils about her experience, but it will be a day that she will remember for the rest of her life.
A couple of the RPS staff are planning to travel to Malawi and Mozambique in November, and Mike had the majority of the month free so suggested that we hire a plane for the trip which he would pilot. What a wonderful adventure that would have been and what a pleasure to fly with him.
Mr and Mrs Channer - your son was not only a respected, professional and safe pilot whom Airwaves Airlink were pleased to have on their team, he was also a very decent young man. He took advantage of the job that he loved and travelled around the world with it. He certainly lived life to the full and was an example to us all.
It seems that some special force thought that Mike and his piloting skills were needed elsewhere and he was required to fly far, far higher than a few thousand feet.
Robin and Jo Pope and the rest of the team from Robin Pope Safaris express their deepest sympathies. He touched all our lives and will always be remembered.
South Luangwa, Zambia
"thoughts from The Wildlife Camp"
17 Sept 2004
all my thoughts and sympathy to all family and friends of Michael. It is such a loss to lose so many young lives in one accident.
I am in contact with the surviving family members of his passangers on his last flight and would like to quote part of an email from them to me "We understand from what we hear that he did an outstanding job of trying to land the plane under very difficult circumstances. We would so much like to write to his family and express our condolences and appreciation - shannon Farmer"
Patsy and all at the Wildlife camp
"Deepest sympathy from Norman Carr Safaris"
17 Sept 2004
Mike had been staying with us at Kapani Lodge while he was in the South Luangwa. We are all so shocked and upset by his loss. He was that rare thing - a true gentleman, he will be sadly missed. Our very deepest sympathies go to his family and friends.
South Luangwa Zambia
17 Sept 2004
I don't think that I thanked you enough for all the help that you gave me during the short time that we knew each other!
You were an absolutely wonderful person and it was really great knowing you!
My absolute,heartfelt condolences to your family and friends everywhere!
"A Childhood Best Friend - Never to be Forgotten"
by Sheryn McGregor-Sauvé
17 Sept 2004
From the time they first met as 3 year olds until we moved from Munster Hamlet, my son Brad and Michael were best friends. They spent time together at school, at church, at Beavers and at each other's homes.
At their first Beaver's camp on the Ottawa, their dads, Gerry and Jerry, went along for the weekend. That Sunday morning at church, Sharon and I found out that the two boys had gotten lost together for about 2 hours but were thankfully found albiet oblivious of the search that had gone on - they were on an adventure!
I loved to see Michael's smile. He was always polite and a bit shy, but underneath you could see his love of life.
Although Brad and Michael didn't keep in touch in later years, Brad still has kept Michael's letters, postcards, pictures and gifts from afar (a wooden elephant).
Michael, we love you and will miss your spirit but it will live on in our memories. Our deepest sympathies, thought and prayers to Gerry and Sharon. God be with you all.
Sherri, Pierre, Brad and Luke
A word file with pictures of Michael and Brad together
by Dan Vandrish
16 Sept 2004
It's hard for me to try and explain my feeling for mike.. He was my best friend and a brother. There is not point in my past where I don't think back to some great time that doesn't evolve Mike. We've been together since I was 4 months old.. It's a great shock to me to lose someone so great. Saying this I can't even begin to imagine how much pain Gerry and Sharon are going through. But I am here for them like they have always been for me. All I really want to say is that Mike touched so many people so deeply that I know his sprit will live on forever..
Till we meet again.