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Page last updated at 06:39 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 07:39 UK

Vietnam photographer Van Es dies

Vietnamese evacuees onto an Air America helicopter, 1975

Dutch photographer Hugh Van Es, who captured some of the most enduring images of the Vietnam War, has died in hospital in Hong Kong at the age of 67.

Mr Van Es' most famous picture showed US citizens queuing on a rooftop to board a US helicopter during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975.

The image came to be seen as a symbol of the failure of US policy in the war.

His wife of 39 years, Annie, said he had never regained consciousness after a brain haemorrhage last week.

Mr Van Es moved from the Netherlands to Hong Kong in 1967.

He covered the Vietnam War between 1969 and 1975, working first for the Associated Press new agency and then for United Press International.

Hugh Van Es and his wife, Annie (31 December 2008)
Hugh and Annie Van Es were married for almost 40 years

In 1975, as North Vietnamese forces were approaching Saigon, he photographed the thousands of US military personnel and Vietnamese civilians trying to flee the city.

From the roof of the UPI bureau, he photographed a large group of people queuing on the roof of a flat to board a US helicopter, which was clearly too small too carry them all.

The image, often mistakenly believed to be of the US embassy, was later used in the Vietnam musical Miss Saigon.

Vietnam war reporter Peter Arnett said Mr Van Es had been "one of the few Western photographers willing to take the risks of witnessing the war's end".

After the war, Mr Van Es returned to Hong Kong from where he continued to photograph conflicts including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Moro rebellion in the Philippines.

He was described by Ernst Herb, President of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club, as "an inspiration" who had "really captured the spirit of foreign reporting".



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SEE ALSO
Winning hearts and minds in Vietnam
30 Oct 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Vietnam 1945 to 1975: timeline
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