Private plane crash kills 3 Indian Americans, including hotelier

June 16th, 2009 - 10:36 am ICT by IANS  

New York, June 16 (IANS) Police is investigating the cause of a crash of a single-engine family-owned plane that claimed the lives of an Indian American hotelier, a Kerala native, his 11-year-old son and an Indian American doctor friend in eastern New York.
New York State police said divers recovered the body of the plane’s owner, 41-year-old Mathai Kolath George, Monday. The bodies of his son, George Kolath, and 52-year-old Krishnan Raghavan were recovered Sunday.

Kolath, an Albany hotelier, was entertaining his son and Raghavan, a local doctor, with an afternoon jaunt Sunday in his Piper Cherokee plane when it plunged into the Mohawk River shortly after takeoff from nearby Mohawk Valley Airport.

The plane, which was registered to Kolath Airlines LLC of Bear, Delaware, sank in 30 feet of water and was found by people in a boat nearby. Authorities on Monday recovered the small plane and loaded it on a barge.

“He stopped for lunch at a small airport and they took off and (after) their takeoff, we don’t know what happened,” Kolath’s brother-in-law Anil Paulose was quoted as saying by Newsday. Kolath was the “most high spirited person I ‘ve ever seen. He was so full of energy,” he said.

Media reports cited Skip Ryan, a pilot who was also waiting to take off, as saying the plane appeared to lose power in the air, plunging nose-first into the river. A skydiving instructor at Mohawk Valley Airport said he and others who were in the small airstrip’s restaurant heard the crash, ran down the airstrip and jumped into the river.

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