Three Americans were presumed dead in the plane crash in the southern French Alps, including a U.S. government contractor and her daughter, the State Department said Wednesday.
Identified victims were Yvonne Selke of Nokesville, Virginia, an employee for 23 years at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in Washington, and her daughter, Emily Selke, a recent graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia. The U.S. government did not identify the third American it said was on the plane.
Yvonne Selke performed work under contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s satellite mapping office, Booz Allen and the Defense Department confirmed in statements after the AP had reported her identity and employment.
“Every death is a tragedy, but seldom does a death affect us all so directly and unexpectedly,” NGA Director Robert Cardillo said. “All of us offer our deepest condolences and will keep her family and her colleagues in our thoughts.”
Booz Allen’s chief personnel officer, Betty Thompson, described Selke as “a wonderful co-worker and a dedicated employee who spent her career with the firm.”
Friends and co-workers of Selke’s circulated a photograph of her showing a smiling, middle-aged woman with brown hair and eyeglasses, and a photo of Emily showing a blond young woman with dark eyes and a bright smile. They described Selke as a diligent and generous worker who regularly brought cookies to co-workers.
A person who answered the phone at Selke’s home said the family was not providing any information.
Emily Selke was a “go-getter” who was interested in festival management while in school, said Xela Batchelder, a Drexel professor who taught her. Batchelder said Emily Selke participated in Fringe University, which holds courses around the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an arts festival in Scotland. She also helped put together the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival.