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No Trace of Missing Friends of the Earth Official In Madagascar Jungle

January 5, 1995

LONDON (AP) _ No trace has been found of a leading British environmentalist who vanished last week in a remote Madagascar jungle carrying no food and only a small supply of water.

The environmental group Friends of the Earth said Andrew Lees, 46, campaign director of Friends of the Earth, had been filming the rain forests on the island 240 miles off east Africa when he vanished Saturday.

The organization would not comment Thursday on a report in The Times newspaper that Lees was on an undercover investigation of deforestation on the island, a rich resource of rare and exotic flora and fauna.

``Once we have further evidence of how he is, we will be in a position to say what he was doing there,″ said Patrick Green, senior energy campaigner of Friends of the Earth. ``The most likely scenario is that he had some kind of accident.″

Lees was traveling Saturday with a driver into a remote area he had filmed previously. After telling the driver he would return in an hour, Lees walked into the forest alone, carrying no food and only enough water to last about two days.

The driver reportedly waited five hours before alerting local tribespeople and beginning a search.

Police joined the search the following day. They were joined Thursday by Lees’ girlfriend, Chris Orengo and Jonathan Kaplan, an environmental photographer familiar with the area, who flew in from London.

The British embassy in Madagascar has sent a senior official to help direct the search, Green said.

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