Alana Cutland, the British woman who opened an airplane door and jumped out to her death, was a student of natural sciences at Cambridge University.
The horrifying death occurred while the 19-year-old woman was in a Cessna C168 plane flying over Madagascar. Now it’s being investigated whether Cutland might have had an averse response to malaria medication.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Fellow Flyer Tried to Grab Cutland’s Leg to Keep Her From Leaping Out of the Plane
The incident is truly terrifying. It was initially reported that Alana Cutland had fallen out of the plane.
However, police then released photos reenacting what occurred. They now believe that Alana tried to jump out of the plan while a friend, another British woman named Ruth Johnson, grabbed onto her leg to try to stop her from doing so, Metro reported.
Tragically, Alana wrestled free of her friend’s life-saving grip and fell out of the plane to her death. According to Metro, police say Alana “tried to get out,” and the pilot also tried to keep her inside. She fell 3,000 feet above sea level into an area filled with wild animals.
2. Alana Cutland’s Family Remembered Her as Bright & Independent
Alana Cutland was from Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, in Great Britain.
Her family has released a statement praising her as “a bright, independent young woman, who was loved and admired by all those that knew her.”
The family statement also described Cutland as “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.”
“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,” it continued.
3. Cutland Was Conducting Research on the Island
Cutland was a student of natural sciences at Cambridge University.
According to the Guardian, she was “carrying out research in the remote area of Anjajavy on the island nation off Africa’s east coast.”
The Guardian noted that she was researching a “rare species of crab.” She was on the plane because she was journeying home after the research trip.
4. Cutland Was Remembered for Having Made a Contribution to Her University
Dr. David Woodman, of Robinson College, said in a statement to the Guardian: “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.”
Cutland was also a “talented dancer,” according to The Times.
Her family’s statement also mentioned her dancing abilities and added that she “embraced the more creative side of her talents with joy and commitment. ‘Her thirst for discovering more of the world always ensured she made the most of every second of her action-packed young life.”
5. Alana May Have Had a Bad Reaction to Malaria Medication
What could have provoked Cutland to take such a horrific action? An averse reaction to Malaria medication, police believe.
They say she “had been suffering attacks of paranoia” and suspect “that she had a bad reaction to medication,” reported The Times.
That ruling is not definitive, but it’s the prevailing theory.