David McTaggart, the founder of Greenpeace International, was killed Friday
in a head-on car crash on a country road in central Italy. He was 68.
Friday, March 23, 2001 (AP)
Greenpeace International founder dies in car crash
(03-23) 12:27 PST ROME (AP) -- David McTaggart, the
founder of Greenpeace International, was killed Friday
in a head-on car crash on a country road in central
Italy. He was 68.
Police said McTaggart was alone in his car. The
driver of the other car also died and his wife was
injured, police said. The accident happened in
Umbria, about 20 miles from Perugia.
McTaggart had lived in Italy for many years.
He galvanized the international environmental
movement in 1972 when he sailed his small boat into a
French nuclear-testing site at Mururoa atoll in the
He went on to stir up support throughout Europe for
Greenpeace, forging an alliance in 1979 among separate
factions of the organization and uniting them under
his chairmanship as Greenpeace International. He was
chairman until 1991.
"He was the last medieval knight, capable of great
symbolic acts for the environmental cause," said
Gianfranco Bologna, a spokesman in Italy for the World
Grazia Francescato, president of the Italian Green
Party, called McTaggart "a figure of extraordinary
force" and "an example for all of us."
McTaggart, sometimes dubbed "the shadow warrior,"
was "a very difficult person because he was extremely
stubborn, extremely tough," said David Newmann,
ex-director of Greenpeace Italy, adding he was "a
person of enormous courage and determination."
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, McTaggart
worked in the construction business for 20 years, then
moved to the United States in the 1960s where
he became a successful contractor and developer.
He retired after an explosion destroyed a resort
his firm had built and sailed the Pacific for
pleasure. In 1971 he became outraged with the
French government's decision to cordon off a vast
swath of international waters in the Pacific for
McTaggart was also a driving force behind
Greenpeace campaigns to save the whales, to stop the
dumping of nuclear waste in the ocean, to block the
production of toxic wastes, to end nuclear testing,
and to protect the Antarctic continent from oil and
There was no immediate information on survivors or
CANDICE HUGHES, Associated Press Writer
Copyright 2001 AP