Indian doctor couples and their teen daughter were killed when their small plane sliced through backyards in a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, shortly after takeoff Thursday morning.
Dr. Jasvir "Jesse" Khurana, 60, his wife, Dr. Divya Khurana, 54, and their daughter, Kiran Khurana, 19, of Lower Merion Township, were on board a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza at Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
NBC10 obtained audio of Dr. Jasvir Khurana, who 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.
The plane was headed to Columbus, Ohio, officials said.
About three minutes later, the flight crashed behind homes along Minnie Lane near Morris Road in Upper Moreland, about nine miles from the airport. Police arrived at the crash site shortly after receiving a 911 call around 6:20 a.m. and found the bodies of all three family members.
The aircraft came to rest in a wooded area after striking the ground, a gazebo, backyard shed, fence and several trees.
No one on the ground was hurt and the plane didn't hit any homes, only the shed, according to investigators.
The county coroner arrived on the scene later Thursday morning and recovered the bodies.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration said there were no indications that Dr. Khurana made any sort of distress call, according to police.
Officials have not yet determined the cause of the crash. The National Weather Service reported conditions were overcast and hazy and appeared to be under instrument flight rules (IFR). IFR means the pilot would need to follow rules for flying in clouds.
The plane reached an estimated altitude of about 1,200 feet before quickly dropping.
Dr. Jasvir Khurana was a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine with a focus on bone pathology.
‘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,’ a spokesperson for Temple said in a statement.
Dr. Divya Khurana, 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 St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, where she had worked for more than two decades.
‘She was loved by her patients and students alike,’ a spokesperson for St. Christopher's wrote. ‘Her sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.’
The couple's daughter, Kiran, graduated from Harriton High School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 2018.
‘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.
The husband-and-wife physician-researchers both trained at
the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and moved to the
The flight manifest indicated the Khuranas, of
Adam Gerhardt, an air safety investigator for the NTSB, said the investigation would last several days. A preliminary report is expected in 10 to 15 days, and a final report within a year.
Chris Crane told Eyewitness News that 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 told Eyewitness News