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Indian-American doctor couple killed in US plane crash

June 20, 2011 16:49 IST

A top Indian-origin neurologist and his doctor wife were killed when their single-engine aircraft, which he was flying, crashed into a corn field in Ohio shortly after takeoff, United States authorities said on Monday.

The New Jersey-based Indian-American couple, Dr Viswanathan Rajaraman, 54, and Dr Mary J Sundaram, 50, had arrived in Columbus on Friday after visiting their daughter, Kaavya Viswanathan, in Washington, DC. They had refueled their single-engine Cirrus CR22 plane at Rickenbacker Airport with plans to go home, Lt Gary Lewis of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Shortly after takeoff on Sunday, the plane crashed in a cornfield south of the runways, killing the husband and wife, both physicians, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Lewis identified the victims as Dr Viswanathan Rajaraman, the pilot, and Dr Mary J Sundaram, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

Rajaraman, who hailed from Tamil Nadu was a brain-cancer specialist and was also a licensed pilot. Kaavya, 24, made headlines in 2006 because of rampant plagiarism allegations against her novel, 'How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life'.

Doug Smith, a battalion chief with the Columbus Division of Fire, said firefighters from Rickenbacker were checking equipment and saw the plane go down shortly before 9 am. Crews were at the crash scene within two minutes, Smith said.

The plane caught fire, and little was left after the flames were extinguished, he said. Firefighters from Madison and Hamilton townships also responded, as did troopers from the patrol and deputies with the Franklin County sheriff's office. The crash was just north of the Franklin-Pickaway county line.

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