August 01, 2019
Ten minutes into the flight, Alana Cutland unbuckled her seatbelt and began struggling to exit the aircraft. Her body has not been found
British woman who fell from Madagascar plane reportedly fought with passengers to pry open door
A 19-year old British woman, Alana Cutland, fell 1,130 metres to her death from a small aircraft last Thursday, according to Madagascar police.
Cutland was a second year student in the Biological Natural Studies program at Cambridge University. She was carrying out research in the Anjajavy area of Madagascar on a self-funded research trip, not as part of a Cambridge University study, according to The Sun.
Police said Cutland was in a two-door propellor plane with fellow passenger Ruth Johnson and the pilot, on her way back from the research trip. Ten minutes into the flight, however, she unbuckled her seatbelt and attempted to open the door. Seeing this, Johnson grabbed her leg, trying to keep her onboard.
“Ms Johnson fought for five minutes trying to hold her, but when she was exhausted and out of breath, she let go,” police told The Sun. “Alana then intentionally fell from an aircraft at 1,130 metres above sea level.”
Authorities say the chances of finding her body are slim due to the remoteness of the area.
British woman who fell from Madagascar plane reportedly fought with passengers to pry open door
Investigators reported Cutland had suffered from “paranoia attacks” while on the trip, where she researched a rare species of crab. According to The Sun, she was supposed to be there for six weeks but decided to leave after eight days, after speaking with her parents.
Local Madagascar police chief Sinola Nomenjahary said investigators are working with British police after concluding that Cutland had intentionally fallen out of the plane. Her luggage has been searched and the management of the hotel she was staying at has been interviewed.
A friend of Cutland’s described her as “beautiful inside and out” to the The Daily Mail, and said “the whole thing has been a nightmare for her family and friends back home in the U.K.”
“We knew she was getting some sort of plane trip last week to study the seabed on a neighbouring island, but then contact went dead and we started to fear the worst.”
After looking through her messages, Nomenjahary said that she had e-mailed her parents frequently for moral support. “She did not handle her stress well.”
It was then decided that she would fly out on Johnson’s departure day.
British woman who fell from Madagascar plane reportedly fought with passengers to pry open door
Her family released a statement through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office saying she was “loved and admired by all those who knew her.”
“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,” the statement says. “We are heartbroken at the loss of our wonderful, beautiful daughter, who lit up every room she walked in to, and made people smile just by being there.”
A statement by Senior Tutor, Dr. David Woodman, from Robinson College, which Alana attended, said, “In her two years here, she made a huge contribution to many different aspects of life in the College. She will be sorely missed by us all. The College extends its sincerest condolences to Alana’s family at this extremely difficult time.”
Her friend added that she was also the vice-president of a dance society at Cambridge among other passions. “There was no end to her talents and we can’t think why she would have done this.”
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