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Death amidst joy - Plane crash victim died on her birthday

Jamaican teacher went to Antigua for medical test

BY DESMOND ALLEN Executive Editor - Operations allend@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 09, 2012    

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JAMAICAN Annya Duncan was celebrating several milestones all at once when her life was cut short in the ill-fated Fly Montserrat airline flight that crashed on take-off Sunday in bad weather in St John’s, the Antigua and Barbuda capital.

Duncan, described by her grief-stricken dad, Coswell Duncan, as “a caring and loving daughter who always wanted to do well in life”, was celebrating her 29th birthday on Sunday.

She was also being celebrated as the first Mathematics teacher to have 100 per cent of her students pass the subject in this year’s CSEC exams from Montserrat Secondary School.

And, Duncan just had her two-year teaching contract extended by a year because of her history-making achievements in that eastern Caribbean island.

Her dad, the pianist at First Baptist Church at Sandringham Avenue in Eastwood Park Gardens, St Andrew, said he received the dreadful news of his daughter’s death from the school’s Human Resource Officer Daphne Castle. Up to Jamaica Observer press time he had not yet heard from an airline representative.

“It’s hard to take,” said Duncan. “We were very close. She would call me sometimes up to four times in a week from Montserrat, wanting to get my advice on anything she was contemplating doing.”

He said his daughter had gone to Antigua to do a CAT-Scan for a medical condition and was returning to Britishrun Montserrat on the nine-seater twinengine Britten-Norman Islander plane when the tragedy struck late afternoon at the VC Bird International Airport.

Annya, a past student of St Andrew High School for Girls, was a graduate of the University of Technology where she received a Bachelor of Science in Education, majoring in Biology and Mathematics. She was the third of five children and worshipped at Bethany Gospel Hall.

“She got along very well with her peers. She was an outspoken young woman and knew exactly what she wanted out of life,” said Duncan of his daughter.

Annya is also survived by mother, Grace; sisters Sobrina, Sadiekee, Grace Ann Safiya; and brother David.

Foreign Minister A J Nicholson yesterday expressed condolence to Duncan family, confirming that they had reported her death to the ministry.

“The ministry has contacted our High Commission in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, headed by H C Sharon Saunders, seeking in particular, official confirmation of the details surrounding the fatality, the High Commission's assistance in the retrieval of Ms Duncan’s remains from Antigua, and the names and contact details of all the entities with which the family will have to engage,” Nicholson said in a press statement.

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