In the coming days police are hoping to question the drama teacher who survived the cliff fall to piece together the tragedy that resulted in the death of a 15-year-old girl, The Sunday Times of Malta has learnt.

Erin Tanti, a 23-year-old actor and drama teacher, is recovering at Mater Dei Hospital after he was airlifted from the foot of Dingli Cliffs with serious injuries on Wednesday afternoon.

His student, Lisa Marie Zahra, was not so lucky. Her body was lifeless by the time help arrived.

Mr Tanti is being kept under constant police surveillance to ensure no evidence is lost and that nobody interferes with the situation.

Police are keeping all options open at this stage. According to the Criminal Code it is an imprisonable offence to “assist” a person to take their own life, even if both parties intended to suffer the same fate.

Ms Zahra’s funeral, which was originally scheduled for yesterday, had to be postponed after the court decided against releasing the body at this stage.

Police sources said the girl’s body will only be released once the results of forensic and toxicological tests were in hand and all the questions answered. This is not anticipated to take longer than a week, sources said.

This decision was taken to avoid the recurrence of a similar situation involving the quick release of the body of Mario Camilleri (known as l-Imnieħru), which had to be exhumed three days after he was buried.

One of the numerous leads police are pursuing is whether any over-the-counter medication was ingested before the incident happened.

I can only imagine the pain and suffering Lisa’s family are going through

This unusual tragedy has left family and friends grappling with unanswered questions as to what happened after Mr Tanti and Ms Zahra arrived at Dingli Cliffs in the early hours of Wednesday.

A missing persons report was released by police on Wednesday morning and hours later they were tipped off that a man was seen calling for help at the bottom of Dingli Cliffs. When the police arrived they found Mr Tanti’s car parked a few metres away from the cliff’s edge. He was then spotted lying on a rock some 40 metres below.

Police believe Mr Tanti, whose injuries include a broken hip, managed to crawl a fair distance from where he fell some 12 hours earlier to call for help. Ms Zahra’s body was later discovered among bushes.

Ms Zahra’s family has appealed for prudence after inaccurate statements emerged in some sections of the press giving the impression Mr Tanti was helping Ms Zahra in a difficult period of her life.

“The cruel reality is that Lisa Marie was a vulnerable minor, at the age of 15, and Erin Tanti is a 23-year-old teacher with the relevant responsibilities that come with this role,” the family said.

In turn, Mr Tanti’s sister, Enya Stewart Tanti, extended her sympathy to the Zahra family on a note she posted on her brother’s Facebook page. “I’d like to say that my family are also saddened by Lisa’s tragic death and our heart goes out to her family,” she wrote.

“When we thought we lost Erin, we were distraught, so I can only imagine the pain and suffering Lisa’s family are going through. Unfortunately, some people have been very insensitive towards my brother.”

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