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Tributes paid to Cambridge student who died ‘falling from a plane’ in Madagascar

She was described as ‘a bright, independent young woman’

Tributes are being paid to a Cambridge University student who died while on an internship in Madagascar.

The Foreign Office confirmed 19-year-old Alana Cutland died on July 25th. UK authorities have not confirmed the cause of death, but local reports claim Alana fell from a plane.

Alana was in her second year studying Natural Sciences, and was described as "a bright, independent young woman." Her family said Alana "lit up every room she walked in to, and made people smile just by being there."

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Alana was on a self-funded research trip to Madagascar. She had intended to stay for six weeks, but after speaking with her parents she cut the trip short eight days in.

According to The Sun, Alana suffered five paranoia attacks while on the trip.

Police say she opened the plane door to jump out. Helicopters and ground teams have been deployed to search for the body.

British tourist Ruth Johnson allegedly held onto Alana for several minutes to try and keep her in the aircraft.

It is being suggested Alana had been suffering from a severe reaction to anti-malaria drugs.

Alana had participated in the Cambridge Summer Schools in China programme, and said of her experience: "I really enjoy working with kids and wanted the opportunity to share my knowledge/passion for learning with younger children.

"One of my kids said that I never hesitated when giving answers about science, and that I had inspired her to be a scientist when she grew up."

Robinson College's Dr David Woodman said the college was "deeply shocked by the news of Alana's death."

He continued: "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."

The family said: "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.

"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."

Details of Cambridge University's student wellbeing services can be found here.