Madagascar rock fall kills scientist

A YOUNG scientist working in Madagascar was killed when an overhanging cliff collapsed in a freak accident.

Nick Paige, of Codicote, was enjoying a beach camp fire with colleagues on Saturday when a three metre high overhang fell into the group.

The 24-year-old marine biologist and a French colleague were crushed, and they are said to have died instantly.

His mother, Suzanne Paige, was on the computer looking for emails from Nick when the police knocked on her door to break the news.

The 61-year-old, who now lives in Suffolk, said: “He loved it [in Madagascar]. He loved the people he worked with and was there with and really loved the people in Madagascar.

“He was outgoing, very caring, very loving and was always interested in people.

“He cared about people and was always there to help out.”

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Mr Paige was working overseas for Blue Ventures and died in the fishing village of Andavadoaka.

He had just had his contract extended by the firm and was set to take on new responsibilities as well as his existing teaching and research roles.

Mr Paige was no stranger to foreign travel having already worked abroad before he flew out to the African island earlier this year.

He also had spent time on an island near Fiji and spent eight months researching stingray on a remote atoll off the coast of Belize while studying for his masters degree from Bangor University.

When he was not abroad he had worked at his former Welwyn GC school – Monk’s Walk School – in the estates department and deputy head teacher Noel Kelly said he would be sorely missed.

“It’s sort of a cliche because whenever someone passes on they are the world’s best, in this case he was – he was one of life’s good guys,” he said.

“He always had a smile on his face, always pleasant to everyone and you could not help liking him it is such a tragic waste.”

He added: “I knew him as a student initially and he became a colleague and a friend.”

Funeral arrangements have not been finalised as his body has yet to be repatriated but there will be a service at Harwood Park Crematorium, Knebworth, followed by a wake in The Goat, Codicote.