WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A 19-year-old student from Cambridge University died after opening the doors of a plane and falling to her death while working on a research in Madagascar.
- While police alleged that the teenager, Alana Cutland, suffered from stress and paranoia on the day of her death, her family said that their daughter was not suicidal and believed she had gotten ill due to something else.
- Her uncle also told Mail Online that Cutland had taken prescribed medications and became ill afterwards.
The death of a British student who was reported to have fallen to her death from a plane may have been due to a serious reaction to prescribed medication, according to the Guardian.
Police officials in Madagascar are investigating the July 25 death of Cambridge University natural sciences student Alana Cutland, 19, who fell from a Cessna C168 despite the pilot and a fellow passenger’s efforts to hold her inside. She was doing research in Anjajavy in Madagascar’s northwestern coast and was on her way to a town hospital for treatment.
Her uncle, Lester Riley, told Mail Online that Cutland became ill for a few days after taking prescribed medication. He also said that she sounded incoherent while talking to her mother two days before the incident.
Authorities have claimed that Cutland was pretty ‘stressed’ that day and have had at least five episodes of paranoia attacks. However, Riley argued that his niece never showed signs of mental illness before the accident.
“Alana had everything to live for, nothing to die for, and we don’t think for a moment she deliberately took her own life. She was hallucinating, she was unwell. It must have been a reaction to medication,” said Riley.
According to the pilot, Mahefa Tahina Rantoanina, he told the Sun that Cutland had been silent during the flight, probably because she was having a headache. But 10 minutes into the flight, Cutland suddenly unfastened her seatbelt and opened the doors of the plane. The other passenger, Ruth Johnson, said that she held onto Cutland for 5 minutes as the student struggled to free herself from her.
“I was trying to fly and stop her from falling at the same time,” recalled Rantoanina. “I was absolutely terrified, we all were.”
While authorities are still searching for the teenager’s body, they also suspect that anti-malaria drugs may have triggered her actions. But the family thinks something else had made her ill because they said their daughter had once taken those medicines on a trip without experiencing any side effects.
Through the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Cutland’s family expressed their grief over the loss in a statement that read:
“We are heartbroken at the loss of our wonderful, beautiful daughter, who lit up every room she walk into, and made people smile just by being there. What happened was a tragic accident, not a suicide, and we are utterly heartbroken.”