A 19-year-old Cambridge University student interning in Madagascar plunged to her death while on a plane flying above the savannah of the East African country.
Authorities say Alana Cutland “intentionally fell” more than 3,500 feet from the Cessna plane after studying a rare species of crabs in the remote are of Anjajavy last Thursday. Investigators from her case found that the student was suffering from “paranoia” attacks as she struggled with her “failed” research study.
The Sun reports that the pilot flying the plane and co-passenger Ruth Johnson, a friend of Cutland, tried to keep the victim in the aircraft but failed after several minutes of struggle. Cutland managed to free herself from their grasp before leaping of the plain. Local reports say that authorities have yet recovered the body.
Police chief Sinola Nomenjahary told the outlet:
“The Cessna C168 aircraft was taking off from Anjajavy with three people aboard, including Ms Johnson, Alana and the pilot.
“After 10 minutes of flight, Alana undid her seatbelt and unlocked the right door of the plane and tried to get out.
“Ms Johnson fought for five minutes trying to hold her, but when she was exhausted and out of breath she let go.
“Alana then intentionally fell from an aircraft at 1130 meters above sea level.
“She dropped into a zone which is full of with carnivorous Fossa felines.”
Her parents, Alison and Neil Cutland released a statement to the press about their daughter’s death:
“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.