An Indian American physician couple, and their teenage daughter died in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on August 8, when the private single-engine aircraft Beechcraft Bonanza they were in crashed. The victims have been identified as 60-year-old Dr. Jasvir Khurana, his wife, 54-year-old Dr. Divya Khurana, and their daughter, 19-year-old Kiran Khurana.
Local police officials said no distress call was made prior to the plane crash, reported CBS Philly. Nobody was injured on the ground.
The NTSB says the plane left Northeast Philadelphia Airport shortly after 6 a.m. and was heading to The Ohio State University Airport. The flight lasted for about three minutes before the plane went down. The plane’s final destination was supposed to be St. Louis.
Chris Crane told Eyewitness News he heard a “thunderous bang” and his house shook when the small plane crashed in his neighbor’s backyard.
“I thank God that it missed our homes,” Crane said. Crane added that there was a strong smell of fuel following the crash. “When I walked outside all you could smell was fuel, no flames, no anything else, but the smell of fuel was strong,” Crane said.
Dr. Jasvir Khurana was a faculty member in the Department of Pathology at Temple University. “Dr. Khurana has been a valued faculty member in the Department of Pathology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University since 2002. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” the university said in a statement.
His wife, Dr. Divya Khurana, was a doctor at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. She was a professor of pediatrics and neurology at the Drexel University College of Medicine, specializing in pediatrics, sleep medicine and pediatric neurology. She was also a nationally recognized leader in epilepsy and mitochondrial disorders, according to the hospital, where she had worked for more than two decades.
“[Divya] was loved by her patients and students alike. Her sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of all who knew and loved her,” St. Christopher’s said in a statement.
The couple’s daughter, Kiran, graduated from Harriton High School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 2018, reported NBC.
“One of our kindest students,” Harriton High School principal Scott Weinstein said. “She was humble, serving of others and had an extremely bright future. We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss.” The couple is survived by their oldest daughter who was not on the plane at the time of the crash.
NBC10 obtained audio of Dr. Jasvir Khurana, who had a pilot’s license and was the pilot of the aircraft, speaking to air traffic control moments before the flight took off. In the audio, Dr. Khurana incorrectly repeats back parts of the route that were dictated to him by the tower controller. A frequency mix up is then heard.
When the police came to the crash site, 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.
“There are pieces of debris spread out over four backyards,” Upper Moreland Township Police Chief Mike Murphy said.
The flight-tracking site Flight Aware reports that the plane, tail No. N4082S, reached an estimated altitude of about 1,200 feet before quickly dropping. Flight Aware listed the estimated duration for Thursday’s flight plan to be around 2 hours, 38 minutes.
The previous two flights registered to that tail number both originated and landed at Northeast Philadelphia Airport two weekends ago and lasted less than an hour.
The National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the scene, and their investigation is underway, according to Adam Gerhardt, an air traffic investigator with the agency, reported LehighValleylive.com.