Madagascan police are investigating the death of a British student who died after opening the door of a small plane in mid-air.

Alana Cutland, 19, fell from the light aircraft on 25 July and others on board are said to have made desperate efforts to stop her from jumping.


She fell in the remote area of Anjajavy and her body has not yet been found.

The Cambridge University undergraduate was carrying out research on the island, off the coast of East Africa.

Ms Cutland reportedly managed to throw herself out after a five-minute struggle with another passenger.

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Police photos appear to show them recreating the struggle to keep her inside the plane, with a person hanging out the door as two others grab their leg.

Her uncle said she had been unwell during her time in the country – possibly because of prescription medication.

Lester Riley said that when she spoke to her mother two days before the incident “she was mumbling and sounded pretty incoherent”.

“We think she had suffered a severe reaction to some drugs but not anti-malaria ones because she had taken those on her trip last year to China without any side effects,” he told Mail Online.

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The plane’s pilot said Ms Cutland – who was from Milton Keynes – had a headache when she got on board and stayed silent during the flight.

“But for the whole time Alana did not say a word – she just struggled to get away from us,” Mahefa Tahina Rantoanina told The Sun.

“I have no idea why she opened the door but she did. She opened the door and she jumped. The door did not open itself.”

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Her family paid tribute to her in a statement earlier this week.

They said she was “loved and admired by all those that knew her” and “lit up every room she walked in to, and made people smile just by being there”.

She had been on an internship in Madagascar to complement her university studies in natural sciences, but this is understood to have been undertaken privately and was not a university study trip.



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