A STUDENT at Cambridge University has died after falling out of a plane while on a research trip to Madagascar.
Alana Cutland, 19, plunged to her death as she travelled back from the remote area of Anjajavy. An investigation into the cause of the tragedy has been launched.
The natural sciences degree student was doing an internship with researchers on the island off east Africa when she died last Thursday, the Foreign Office said.
Her family yesterday led tributes to the ‘bright, independent young woman’, who they said was ‘loved and admired by all those that knew her’.
Their statement added: ‘Our daughter Alana 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.
‘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.
‘Her thirst for discovering more of the world ensured she made the most of every second of her action-packed young life.
‘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.’
Alana, from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was a talented dancer. She was in the yoga and mindfulness society at Robinson College, Cambridge, where she had studied for the past two years.
The college’s Dr David Woodman said: ‘We are deeply shocked by the news of Alana’s death. In her two years here, she made a huge contribution to many different aspects of life in the college. She will be sorely missed by us all.
‘The college extends its sincerest condolences to Alana’s family at this extremely difficult time.’