A University of Cambridge student broke open an airplane door and jumped to her death from 5000ft in Madagascar after a friend and the pilot clung on to her legs for several minutes to stop her, police revealed today.
Alana Cutland, 19, a second-year Biological Natural Sciences student from Milton Keynes, died after plunging 5,000ft from the plane while on a study trip to the Indian Ocean island.
Her friend and fellow British tourist Ruth Johnson and the pilot wrestled with her for several minutes by grabbing her by the legs, Madagascar police chief Sinola Nomenjahary has said.
But after several minutes Alana broke free from their 'exhausted' grip and jumped to her death on Thursday July 25.
Alana was around ten minutes into the flight back from a research trip to a remote lodge in Anjajavy, northern Madagascar, where she was studying a rare species of crabs.
Police have released an extraordinary image of officers recreating the student's final moments before throwing herself from the plane after taking statements from Ms Johnson and the pilot.
Detectives have also revealed that the student had suffered five 'paranoia attacks' while on the 'failed' research trip to see rare Madagascan crustaceans, which she had paid for herself.
Alana and her parents had several intense and agitated discussions on the phone in the days leading up to her death, reports on the island have claimed.
Alana had been due to stay on the research trip for six weeks, but cut it short after just eight days following the conversations with her parents Alison and Neil Cutland, both 63.
Police chief Sinola Nomenjahary say they have pieced together what happened in the minutes before Alana died
said: 'The Cessna C168 aircraft was taking off from Anjajavy with three people aboard, including Ms Johnson, Alana and the pilot.
'After 10 minutes of flight, Alana undid her seatbelt and unlocked the right door of the plane and tried to get out.
'Ms Johnson fought for five minutes trying to hold her, but when she was exhausted and out of breath she let go.
'Alana then intentionally fell from an aircraft at 1130 meters above sea level.
'She dropped into a zone which is full of with carnivorous Fossa felines.'
Alana was travelling back from a research trip to a remote lodge in Anjajavy where she studied a rare species of crabs.
According to the main paper on the island, the Midi-Madagasikara, the British student was heading back to the UK just eight days into the trip die to last over a month.
She is said to have had a number of troubling conversations with her parents in Buckinghamshire.
Their most recent report claims that the family considered the situation an 'emergency' and rented a small plane to take her from the north of the island to Madagascar's Ivato Antananarivo international airport where she would have flown to Paris and then on to London.
They convinced Ruth Johnson, who is understood to be 51, to accompany her on the five-seat Cessna-type aircraft but Alana then fought her way off the plane and jumped minutes after take-off.
Teams are searching for her body but there are fears that it may not be found because she jumped into remote area of the Madagascan jungle filled with carnivorous wild animals.
Alana's family say they 'are heartbroken at the loss of our wonderful, beautiful daughter, who lit up every room she walked in to'.
Police have also interviewed management at the hotel, as well as Ruth and the pilot while also searching Alana's luggage.
They have also read through her documents and messages.
The police chief added: 'The victim is a student who has failed on research work and was asking for a lot of moral support.
'She had personally financed her research and had suffered a paranoia attack five times.
'The witnesses claimed that Alana had difficulty managing her private life and her research.
'She was in regular contact by email with her parents to whom she receives moral support. She did not handle her stresses well.
'On Ms Johnson's departure day Alana's parents agreed that Alana should interrupt her research fly with Ms Johnson.'
She was in the country for a university research trip to complement her studies and one other passenger was in the aircraft with her, along with the pilot.
The internship is understood to have been undertaken privately and was not a Cambridge University study trip.
Alana's family have asked for privacy following her death.
Their statement said: 'Our daughter Alana was a bright, independent young woman, who was loved and admired by all those that knew her.
'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.