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Alan Downes, Who Filmed Searing Footage of Vietnam War, Is Dead

October 10, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ Cameraman Alan Downes, who filmed searing Vietnam War footage during his 32 years covering fighting around the world, has died of brain cancer. He was 58.

Downes died Wednesday. Reporting the death, Stewart Purvis, chief executive of Britain’s Independent Television News, said: ``Alan worked on all the big stories throughout his years at ITN. The memorable images he took have become part of contemporary television history.″

TV footage filmed by Downes in 1972 during the Vietnam War showed a naked 9-year-old girl, Kim Phuc, and other children fleeing down Highway One in South Vietnam during a napalm attack on a village. The clothes had been burned from the girl’s body.

Downes’ footage and a still photograph taken by Nick Ut of The Associated Press of the screaming girl running toward Ut’s camera were used by news media around the world.

Their pictures burned into viewers’ memories. Downes and Ut saved the severely burned girl’s life by getting her to a hospital.

Downes won a variety of awards for his later work, including his coverage of Vietnam, Eritrea and the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus.

He became ITN’s chief cameraman in 1987 and retired from the organization in 1991.

He is survived by a wife, Sheila, son, Nick, and daughter, Saskia. No details of funeral arrangements were given.

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