Indian-origin pilot killed in plane crash in US

March 19th, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by admin  


Toronto, March 19 (IANS) An Indian-origin pilot died when his single-engine plane crashed near Mountain Empire airport in Virginia in the US. Toronto-based Roy Sanwalka was on his way to the Bahamas in his four-seater Mooney when it went down in the mountains of Jefferson National Forest early Sunday morning.

Rescuers found the body of the 36-year-old entrepreneur and his 44-year-old girlfriend Margaret O’Brien in the cockpit of the crashed plane.

Just before he went down, Sanwalka had sent a message for help, saying his plane was being hit by ice. The plane was reportedly at an altitude of 8,000 feet at that time.

The rescuers located the debris after picking up beeping signals from the crash site.

Sanwalka, who came to Canada with his parents at the age of three, had just finished his advanced flying course. He owned a business-networking firm Vergen in Toronto.

Strangely, his cousin Deepti Neto was driving by the Virginia mountains precisely when her cousin’s plane went down.

She was on her way back to Toronto from Florida when the crash happened.

Neto told a local newspaper that she saw a rescue helicopter flying overhead while driving by the mountains. Soon she got the tragic news about her cousin’s death in a plane crash.

“We were within miles of where he crashed. We just happened to be driving through … and just at the same time,” she told Toronto Star.

The 48-year-old woman told the paper that her husband had warned Sanwalka before flying to the Bahamas, saying, “Be careful. We don’t want to read about you in the papers like JFK (John F. Kennedy) Jr.”

Her husband was referring to the death of JFK Jr, the son of former US president John Kennedy, who was killed in a plane crash in 1999.

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