Washington: An Indian American doctor couple from New Jersey were killed when their single-engine plane crashed into an Ohio cornfield and burst into flames shortly after takeoff Sunday.
Viswanathan Rajaraman, the 54-year-old pilot, and Mary J. Sundaram, his 50-year-old wife and the only passenger, were attempting to take off from Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus when the incident happened just before 9 am, n.j.com reported citing Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Rajaraman, a leading New Jersey neurosurgeon, and his wife were returning to Essex County Airport in Fairfield, which they flew out of on Friday afternoon, according to the aviation website Flight Aware. It was not clear why they were in Ohio for the weekend.
The cause of Sunday’s plane crash is still under investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration sent investigators to the scene, but the National Transportation Safety Board will be heading up the probe, nj.com said citing said Tony Molinaro, an FAA spokesman.
Rajaraman, one of the top doctors in New Jersey, specialising in brain and spine cancer, was co-chief of neuro-oncology at Hackensack University Medical Centre’s cancer centre. Sundaram was reportedly also a physician, but stopped practicing to raise the couple’s daughter, Kaavya Viswanathan, now 24.
Originally from Chennai, the family moved around the world. They spent some time in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States in the mid-1990s.
Kaavya Viswanathan made news in 2006 as a Harvard undergraduate when she published the novel “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,” a story she wrote in high school. The book made the New York Times bestsellers list.
But she was accused of plagiarism shortly after publication and copies of her book were pulled from stores and destroyed by her publisher.