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Body of Indian-American hotelier recovered

By Dharam Shourie in New York
June 16, 2009 13:12 IST
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The body of an Indian-American hotelier, who died along with his son and a friend when the family-owned small plane they were flying in nosedived into the Mohawk river in New York during an afternoon leisure trip, has been recovered.

The body of Albany-based hotelier George Kolath, who hails from Kerala, was recovered on Monday afternoon, state police said. Bodies of his 11-year-old son, George Kolath Jr, and friend, identified as Krishnan Raghavan (52), were pulled out from the river on Sunday.

Kolath was entertaining his son and Raghavan when the Piper Cherokee went down shortly after taking off from the nearby Mohawk Valley Airport on Sunday, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.

The Piper Aircraft crashed in the Mohawk River in the town of Glenville, about 40 km northwest of Albany. It sank in 30 feet of water and was pulled out from the river on Monday and loaded onto a barge.

George Kolath, the older brother of actor, producer and director in India Tom George Kolath, was a successful businessman who owned hotels in several cities, his brother-in-law Anil Paulose told the Times Union newspaper of Albany.

Kolath was the founder of Kolathy Hospitality Group, an Albany-based hotel management and development company. Paulose said the doomed aircraft belonged to Kolath and that the three planned to take a leisure trip after lunch.

National Transportation Safety Board public affairs officer Keith Holloway said it was unclear who was at the controls of the single-engine plane. 'We are in the beginning stages of our investigation,' he said, adding that the FAA is assisting in the probe.

Raghavan's friends recalled how the doctor loved being in the air. "This man loved flying so much that he wanted to do it any way possible," Chandler Atkins, President of Quik Flight, an Albany-based air charter company that shut down in November, said.

Raghavan, who had served the company as medical director for three years, has two children.

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Dharam Shourie in New York
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