'Anti-malaria pills left student paranoid' before jumping from plane to her death

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A Cambridge University student who jumped from a plane was left paranoid after taking anti-malaria pills, according to reports.

Alana Cutland, 19, was due to spend six weeks in Madagascar, where she was carrying out research in the remote area of Anjajavy.

The Biological Natural Sciences student, from Milton Keynes, Buck, had told a conservation project organiser that she feared she would be put in prison if she didn’t complete her research.

Her health had declined rapidly in the days after she arrived at the resort on July 16.

She was also described as “staring into space” in the hours before she jumped to her death.

According to a witness statement given to Mail Online, the shocking decline in her mental state has led those close to Alana to believe she may have suffered an adverse reaction to anti-malaria medication.

Ms Cutland said she feared being put in prison for not completing her research

 

The statement by Cédric Martin, the general manager of the luxury Anjajavy Le Lodge hotel which runs the conservation project Alana was working on, claimed she had arrived at the resort ‘excited’ on July 16.

But within days her health worsened.

Hours before the flight, Mr Martin said Ms Cutland had been found “sitting on a chair and staring into space”.

He added: “Her eyes were vacant and she did not seem to have slept. She did not speak, but she was watching us. We found the tablet of sleeping pills not used on the table.”

Mr Martin said that Ms Cutland had refused to eat and evening meal the night before, but did sit down in a restaurant to eat a fruit salad before the flight.

Ms Cutland had expressed concerns to those running the conservation project

Then she called her mum before leaving for the plane.

In the days leading up to her death, Mr Martin described how Ms Cutland requested meetings to express her concern about not finalising her research.

He said: “She began to show some signs of paranoia by telling me that she was afraid to end up in prison in Madagascar if she did not finish her research. After that, she told me ‘it sounds silly when I say it out loud’.”

Mr Martin said he reassured Ms Cutland that if she was having trouble with her research, it was OK.

Ms Cutland’s health declined rapidly after arriving at the resort

 

After she admitted to having difficulties sleeping, her offered her a day off to rest.

Ms Cutland was also taken to the doctor, who advised her to stop taking her anti-malaria pills.

Before her death, Alana was reportedly “mumbling” and “incoherent” after falling sick, her uncle says.

One of her friends claims the Brit sounded upset in a final phone call to her mum and said: “Me, plane, home.”

Her family believe she was hallucinating on prescription drugs and didn’t intend to kill herself when she opened the plane’s door and jumped out, it was reported.

The 19-year-old’s body has not been found after she plunged up to 3,700ft into the savanna on the Indian Ocean island, where she was researching the endangered blue crab.

The Anjajavy Forest where Ms Cutland was studying

 

She was on her way back to the UK on July 25 after she had reluctantly agreed to cut short the trip at her parents’ request, it was reported.

The plane’s pilot said Ms Cutland had a headache when she boarded 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.”

Police photographs recreating Ms Cutland’s final moments appear to show the pilot and the second passenger grasping hold of the victim’s leg as she hangs out of the plane.

Ms Cutland was staring into space in the hours leading up to her flight

 

The force said Ms Cutland took off her seatbelt about 10 minutes into the flight, unlocked the right door and tried to get out.

That led to a desperate five-minute struggle in which the pilot and fellow British passenger, Ms Johnson tried to keep the teen on board.

Ms Cutland’s uncle said his niece met Ms Johnson during the trip.

Police believe Ms Cutland landed in an area populated by carnivorous fossas, cat-like mammals endemic to Madagascar.

The force said she was in regular contact with her parents and was making her way home via the island’s main airport.

In a statement released through the Foreign Office, her family paid tribute saying: “Our daughter Alana was a bright, independent young woman, who was loved and admired by all those that knew her.

A reconstruction carried out by police of the circumstances surrounding Ms Cutland’s death

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“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.

“She was particularly excited to be embarking on the next stage of her education, on an internship in Madagascar complementing her studies in natural sciences.

“We are heartbroken at the loss of our wonderful, beautiful daughter, who lit up every room she walked in to, and made people smile just by being there.”



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