BOSTON—An Indian American couple and their 19-year-old daughter were killed when their small, private plane plunged downward shortly after takeoff and crashed into the backyard of a Pennsylvania home, according to news reports.
“Temple University Dr. Jasvir “Jesse” Khurana, who was licensed to pilot the aircraft, his wife, Drexel University Dr. Divya Khurana, and their daughter, Kiran Khurana, were the only ones aboard the single-engine Beechraft Bonanza when it went down just before 6:20 a.m. on Thursday,” reported New York Daily News.
The private aircraft took off from North West Philadelphia Airport around 6:12 a.m. Authorities said it was traveling to Columbus, Ohio, though the city was not its destination, according to New York Daily News.
About three minutes after takeoff, the propeller plane started to fall from the sky near Willow Grove, located about 30 miles north of Ohio, the newspaper said.
The plane struck several trees during its descent and then barreled into the ground, sending debris across four backyards, Upper Moreland Police Chief Michael Murphy said as quoted by Daily News. No one on the ground was injured, which Murphy said was “a miracle.”
“Debris could be seen strewn across a length of more than a football field that covers four yards. The aircraft came to rest in a wooded area after striking the ground, a gazebo, backyard shed, fence and several trees,” reported NBC News Philadelphia.
Temple University in a statement remembered Khurana as “a valued faculty member in the Department of Pathology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University since 2002.” The 60-year-old doctor was a professor of pathology and medicine at the Philadelphia university, where he also studied bone disease, according to Daily News.
Divya Khurana was a pediatric neurologist at St. Christopher’s Children Hospital and a professor at Drexel University College of Medicine. She was also a nationally recognized leader in epilepsy and mitochondrial disorders, according to Daily News.
Their daughter, Kiran, graduated last year from Harrison High school, where she played for the nationally ranked squash team, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation and Safety Board later Thursday arrived on the scene of the crash — a wooded area behind a line of houses in Upper Moreland Township, located about 10 miles away from the airport, according to news reports.
Officials said there is no sign the pilot issued a distress call or requested help before the plane started to fall. The cause of the crash is under investigation.