Tim Hetherington, the conflict photographer who was a director and producer of the film “Restrepo,” was killed in the besieged city of Misurata on Wednesday, and three photographers working beside him were wounded.
The wounds to two of the photographers — Chris Hondros and Guy Martin — were severe, according to Andre Liohn, a colleague at the triage center where they were being treated Wednesday night.
Mr. Hondros, an American working for the Getty photo agency, suffered a severe brain injury and was in extremely critical condition, according to Mr. Liohn. He had been revived and was clinging to life in the evening. A later update from Mr. Liohn said that Mr. Hondros was in a coma at the medical center, which is located near the front lines.
Mr. Martin, a British citizen working for the Panos photo agency, had shrapnel wounds and was undergoing vascular surgery Wednesday night, according to the same account. As the night progressed, Mr. Liohn said that Mr. Martin’s bleeding had been stopped and that his prospects had improved.
The fourth photographer, Michael Christopher Brown, suffered shrapnel injuries to his left shoulder, but his life was not in danger. He was resting Wednesday night.
Misurata, Libya’s third-largest city, has been cut off by land from the rest of the country by military forces loyal to Col.Muammar el-Qaddafi. It has been the scene of intensive, close-quarters fighting for weeks. Hundreds of Libyans have been confirmed killed.
The photographers had reached the city by sea from Benghazi, the rebel capital. The early reports said they had been working together near the front lines when they were struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.
As doctors worked on the wounded men, it was not immediately clear how they might be evacuated.
The Ionian Spirit, a vessel chartered by the International Organization for Migration, was in port in Misurata to evacuate migrant workers, having just completed a third relief trip from Benghazi.
Human Rights Watch, the New York-based organization, whose staff members know the photographers, contacted the vessel and found it was prepared to evacuate them back to Benghazi. But Mr. Martin and Mr. Hondros were not deemed fit for travel, especially on a voyage that could last 20 or more hours.
The loss of Mr. Hetherington reverberated in many circles, including among the journalists, aid workers, soldiers and victims of war he had befriended in a distinguished career.
A British citizen who lived in New York, he had covered conflicts with sensitivity in Liberia, Afghanistan Darfur and, in recent weeks, Libya. Condolences streamed in as news spread of his death.
“This is a devastating loss to many of us personally,” said Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, which was examining options to recover his remains. “But it is also a devastating loss to the human rights community. His work has raised the visibility of many of the world’s forgotten conflicts. May the legacy of his exceptional photographs serve to inspire future generations.”