Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

British student Alana Cutland's body found after Madagascar plane fall

Local police chief confirmed the body had been found in a rural area on Tuesday

British student Alana Cutland fell to her death from an aircraft flying over Madagascar last month. The Cutland family
British student Alana Cutland fell to her death from an aircraft flying over Madagascar last month. The Cutland family

The body of the British Cambridge University student who fell from a light aircraft in Madagascar last month has been found.

Alana Cutland, 19, fell from the plane on July 25. She was believed to have forced open the door, before falling to her a death more than a kilometre below.

Local police chief Sinola Nomenjahary confirmed Ms Cutland's body had been found in a rural area on Tuesday.

The young woman, from Milton Keynes in England’s midlands, was reported to be travelling with family friend Ruth Johnson on a short flight to Madagascar's Ivato Antananarivo International Airport when the incident took place.

British newspapers reported that on Thursday that Ms Cutland’s parents had asked Ms Johnson to accompany their daughter on a flight back home in the run-up to the incident.

“Ruth Johnson struggled for several minutes to try to stop her,” Mr Nomenjahary said.

“The pilot also tried to pull her back, but they grew exhausted and Alana managed to fight clear of them and fall out of the door.”

Investigators told of a struggle on board the aircraft, shortly after take-off, before what they described as an “intentional fall”.

The cause of her death has not yet been confirmed by the authorities, but one line of inquiry being pursued by investigators is the possibility that she had a severe reaction to anti-malaria drugs.

Ms Cutland was studying natural sciences at Cambridge University and had come to the island on a research trip.

The British Foreign Office said her family described her as "a bright, independent young woman, who was loved and admired by all those that knew her".

“She was always so kind and supportive to her family and friends, which resulted in her having a very special connection with a wide network of people from all walks of her life, who we know will miss her dearly,” they said.

“Alana grasped every opportunity that was offered to her with enthusiasm and a sense of adventure, always seeking to extend her knowledge and experience in the best ways possible.

“We are heart-broken at the loss of our wonderful, beautiful daughter, who lit up every room she walked into and made people smile just by being there."

Updated: August 7, 2019 08:35 AM

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