A STUDENT has died on a University of York study trip to Africa, aged 20.

Tributes have been paid to biology undergraduate Caitlin Cole, who died in Tanzania on September 24.

Professor Jennifer Potts, head of the university’s biology department, said everyone in the department was "deeply saddened" by the news of her death.

“Caitlin came to the University of York in 2017, and from the outset proved herself to be bright and engaged,” she said.

“Caitlin’s passion for conservation and ecology grew and developed during her studies, galvanised by a field trip to Portugal where she was an active and supportive member of the group.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with Caitlin’s family and friends at this very sad time.”

She said that this was the fourth field trip to Tanzania to have been undertaken by staff and students in the biology department.

“A group of undergraduate students were studying tropical ecology and conservation in Northern Tanzania,” she said.

“Following Caitlin’s tragic death, the students decided to remain as a group in Tanzania for the last few days of the trip where they received appropriate support.

“Since their return, the university has provided access to continued support and counselling.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said its staff were offering support to Caitlin’s family, but did not comment on the circumstances surrounding her death.

An official at the Bradford Coroner’s office said that the coroner was investigating Caitlin’s death to ascertain whether it should go forward to an inquest.

Caitlin’s family said in an obituary notice posted in The Press today that Caitlin, understood to be from Batley, was the "precious and much loved daughter of Nick and Colette Cole, beloved granddaughter of Maureen and Michael McManus and Margaret Cole, also a dearly loved niece, cousin and friend".

They said Requiem Mass would be celebrated at St Anne’s Cathedral, Leeds, at 1.30pm on Thursday, October 24, followed by interment in Birstall Churchyard.

They added that Colette and Nick were requesting donations to be made in lieu of flowers for a tree planting project they were planning in Caitlin’s memory, and donations could be made at the service or sent to the Dewsbury firm of funeral directors, George Brooke Ltd.

The University of York’s biology department is regarded as one of the UK’s elite university biological sciences departments.

Its website says Tanzania is one of four locations to which students can go on field courses, giving them chance to "immerse yourself in the incredible ecosystem of the African savannah".