Madagascar says remains of UK student who fell from plane now found

Alana Cutland, who was on a research trip, fell from a light aircraft shortly after it took off from an airport in remote northwestern Madagascar. (Credit: Facebook)
Updated 07 August 2019

Madagascar says remains of UK student who fell from plane now found

  • Police said she apparently jumped from the plane just a few minutes after it took off from a small airport at Anjajavy on a flight to the capital Antananarivo
  • The pilot and another passenger, named as Ruth Johnson, say they tried in vain to stop her

ANTANANARIVO: Police in Madagascar on Wednesday said villagers had found the remains of a British student who apparently jumped from a plane after opening the aircraft door in mid-air.
Nineteen-year-old Cambridge University student Alana Cutland, who was on a research trip, fell from a light aircraft shortly after it took off from an airport in remote northwestern Madagascar.
Her body was found on Tuesday in the Mahadrodroka forest, police said.
“Villagers have finally found Alana Cutland’s body after a fortnight of searching,” chief investigator Spinola Edvin Nomenjanahary said.
Police said she apparently jumped from the plane just a few minutes after it took off from a small airport at Anjajavy on a flight to the capital Antananarivo on July 25.
The pilot and another passenger, named as Ruth Johnson, say they tried in vain to stop her, investigators report.
Anjajavy villagers launched a search for her body the day after the incident.
On Monday they performed a ritual called “joro” that involved the sacrificial slaughter of a prized zebu cow to seek help from a Malagasy god named Zanahary.
They located Cutland’s remains the following day, Edvin Nomenjanahary said.
Police provided pictures to the media of a coffin being taken off a helicopter at an airport in the port city of MaHajjanga. It will be transported to the capital Antananarivo on Thursday.
According to investigators, Cutland had displayed erratic behavior before the incident.
The natural sciences student was supposed to have stayed 45 days in Anjajavy to study crabs but quit after 10 days.
In a statement issued through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the family described her as “a bright, independent young woman.”
“She was particularly excited to be embarking on the next stage of her education, on an internship in Madagascar complementing her studies in natural sciences.”
“Her thirst for discovering more of the world always ensured she made the most of every second of her action-packed young life.”


Karzai urges Ghani to drop truce as pre-condition for talks with Taliban

Updated 21 January 2020

Karzai urges Ghani to drop truce as pre-condition for talks with Taliban

  • Ex-president says Taliban offer to reduce violence a ‘major development’

KABUL: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged President Ashraf Ghani to drop the pre-condition of cease-fire to begin talks with the Taliban amid high hope that the US and Taliban delegates will sign a deal following more than a year of secret discussions.

Speaking in an interview with BBC local service, Karzai said the government “should not block intra-Afghan dialogue under the pretext of cease-fire.” He said the Taliban offer for reduction in violence as the group says is nearing to ink the deal with American diplomats in Qatar, was a “major development.”

He said Ghani needed to accept the Taliban offer.

Ghani says truce is a must ahead of starting any negotiations with the Taliban calling reduction in violence a general term and arguing that such a call by the Taliban political leaders in Qatar only goes to show that they have control over field commanders back in Afghanistan.

The Taliban say the group will announce truce when the intra-Afghan dialogue begins which will happen after Washington sets timetable for withdrawal of the troops.

Washington at least on one occasion called off the talks with the Taliban in Qatar due to Taliban attacks back in Afghanistan as discussions continued in Qatar despite none of the warring sides having committed to halt offensives during the talks.

Ghani’s government has been sidelined from all rounds of talks between the Taliban delegates and US diplomats led by Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar. There has also been rift between Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with the president in the National Unity Government, on the pre-condition of cease-fire.

Unlike Ghani, Abdullah is happy with reduction of violence. Talking in a meeting of council of ministers, Abdullah on Monday indirectly said Ghani had taken the peace process in his monopoly.

 “Peace is not one person’s monopoly, one person’s wish — but it is a collective desire, and the people of Afghanistan have the right to take a position regarding the peace process,” said Abdullah.