Banbury teacher is hailed as 'Wonder Woman' for desperate bid to save student who fell from a plane

Winchester House teacher Ruth Johnson tried to save a student from falling from an aircraft - picture Facebook
Winchester House teacher Ruth Johnson tried to save a student from falling from an aircraft - picture Facebook

Teacher Ruth Johnson, a private school teacher from Banburyshire, has been hailed as a true heroine after trying to save a Milton Keynes student who threw herself from a light plane over Madagascar.

Ms Johnson, 51, is reported to have grabbed Alana Cutland's leg and struggled to hold on to her for two minutes as the Cambridge student tried to leap out of the aircraft's door.

Ms Cutland - whose body has still not been found - is said to have unbuckled her seat belt and opened the plane's door.

The 19-year-old inexplicably leapt to her death minutes into the flight. A report in the Daily Mail says pilot Mahefa Tahina Rantoanina, 33, flew the light aircraft with one hand as he tried to close the door with the other.

The Mail Online reports that Ms Cutland had only minutes before listened to the flight safety routine which included instructions on how to open the door in an emergency.

Police told the paper the student was suffering from 'paranoia' and had series of fraught calls home to parents. There has been speculation that Ms Cutland had suffered a side-effect of anti-malaria drugs. She had been on a six-week study trip and the Mail Online reveals today (Saturday) she was on the first leg of her journey home.

Mother of two Ms Johnson's husband Matthew Smith was quoted in the Mail as saying his wife as 'Wonder Woman' and that he was immensely proud of her. He also expressed concern for the effects on her of such a traumatic experience. It is understood Ms Johnson received support from the British Embassy on Madagascar.

Ms Johnson is a Year 4 teacher at Winchester House, Brackley.