Body of woman who jumped from plane found in Madagascar jungle

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A search team hunting for the body of the Cambridge University student Alana Cutland, who fell from a light aircraft while flying over Madagascar, believe they have found her body.

Army, police and villagers have been looking for the 19-year-old since they fell out of light aircraft above the Indian Ocean island on July 25.

Local police claim

The find comes just days after officials in Madagascar accused British authorities of funding or offering any help.

Ms Cutland, who had just started an independent research trip in the country, suffered severe paranoia and disappointments before the fall on July 25 – possibly caused by anti-malaria medication.

She fell into remote uninhabitable savanna full of swamps, rivers and carnivorous wildlife.

Local villagers helping with the search said they had finally found what they think is Alana's body.

"They found a human body north of the site where she fell," Police chief Spinola Nomenjanahary confirmed.

BODY FOUND IN JUNGLE

Chief Nomenjanahary said the body was recognized by the "hair, shoes and clothes".

"Villagers wrapped in a sheet of plastic and started carrying it back to the village," he said.

"It will be flown by helicopter to the capital tomorrow. The British embassy have already been informed. "

Madagascan police have confirmed toxicology tests will be carried out on the body when it returns to the capital. They hope to confirm exactly what medication they have had in their system – including anti-malaria drugs.

Investigators said the student suffered five "paranoia attacks" while on the "failed" research trip that she funded herself.

Alana is understood to have fought off fellow passenger, Brit tourist Ruth Johnson, who had battled for several minutes to try to keep her on the aircraft.

But the local police said the 19-year-old managed by free herself from Ms Johnson's "exhausted" grip high above the paradise Indian Ocean island before falling into the wild savanna below.

Rescue teams have been looking for a body across at 40km area for more than a week.

The poverty-stricken villagers had been trekking 25km a day into a sweltering jungle in just their bare feet.

They battled swamps, rivers and thick, long grass on the tiresome hunt, with machetes needed to hack their way through uninhabitable terrain hand-to-hand.

They were at risk of malaria-ridden mosquitoes, snakes and carnivorous catlike beasts called fossas.

The vast site where authorities believe Alana might have fallen is 16km slog from Anjajavy village. She was found many kilometers north of the area she fell.

"LIMITED RESOURCES"

Madagascan government officials have now expressed frustration at the lack of British offerings for help in retrieving the biological sciences student.

The Sun: "We are trying our best but we are modest country with limited resources." It’s a needle in a haystack.

"We've heard anything from the British in terms of wanting to help bring Alana back home.

Whether it is money, professional advice or sending people here, there’s been no offer. ”

Pals said Alana began taking anti-malaria drug Doxycycline before traveling.

Her health deteriorated after arriving.

She was "staring into space" in the hours before her fall.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visitlifeline.org.au or call Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. In an emergency call triple-0.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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