The 19-year-old opened the door of the plane five minutes after takeoff as the Cessna reached an altitude of 5,000 ft and jumped to her death.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on August 7, 2019

The body of Cambridge University student Alana Cutland has been found in Madagascar, an island nation off the coast of East Africa, a day after local villagers said they would sacrifice a cow to bring the searchers luck.

The 19-year-old, who was studying Natural Sciences at the prestigious University of Cambridge, opened the door of a Cessna 182 plane and despite the efforts of a British tourist Ruth Johnson and the pilot, jumped to her death on July 25, The CEO Magazine reported.

Local police chief Sinola Nomenjahary said Cutland’s body had been found in a rural area on Tuesday (local time).

“The body was found on the ground. It was recognised as being Alana from her clothes, hair and shoes,” said Nomenjahary, reported Telegraph UK.

“The body has been wrapped in a plastic sheet and will be flown to Antananarivo tomorrow by helicopter. We have already informed the British embassy of the discovery. The villagers have been searching for two weeks for her and they are happy that they have done their obligations and they have recovered the body.”

Alana Cutland Instagram.jpeg

Around 400 local people and 15 police officers have been searching for Cutland and it was agreed yesterday to sacrifice a cow to bring the searchers luck.

Cutland, who was in her second year at Cambridge University, had planned to spend six weeks in Madagascar, but cut it short after eight days after speaking to her father, Neil, an energy consultant, and mother, Alison, an executive at Cranfield University School of Management in Bedfordshire, UK.

Earlier this week Colonel D’y La Paix Ralaivaonary said Cutland had been “disappointed” with her research project and seemed to conclude the project would be unsuccessful. Cutland had contacted her supervisor on her second day in Madagascar and at least twice more after that, he said.

Cutland’s parents are believed to have rented the light plane intended to take their daughter and Johnson from a lodge on the north of the island to Madagascar’s Ivato Antananarivo international airport, from where they would have flown to Paris and on to London.

Cutland opened the door of the plane five minutes after takeoff as the Cessna reached an altitude of 5,000 ft.

In a statement released by the UK Foreign Office after the incident, Cutland’s family said they were heartbroken at the death of “a bright, independent young woman”.

“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,” the statement said.