WASHINGTON: Three physicians of Pakistani origin were killed Sunday night when the small plane they were on, crashed in a vacant lot of a dense Chicago suburban neighbourhood, leading those on the scene Monday to believe the pilot would have desperately tried to land on a place, where it would not injure anyone.
The twin-engine Beechcraft Baron crashed in Palos Hills, Illonois, shortly after takeoff from Chicago Midway Airport for Lawrence, Kansas, Lynn Lunsford of the Federal Aviation Administration said.
According to U.S. media reports, Palos Hills Deputy Police Chief James Boie said that given the spot where the plane crashed and statements by neighbours who told authorities it appeared the plane was circling before it crashed makes it a real possibility that the pilot tried to save the lives of people in all the homes in the neighborhood.
“I’d like to think that,” he said. “That is the only vacant lot for (four) blocks.”
Tausif Rehman, 34, a neurosurgeon at Stormont-Vail HealthCare in Topeka, Kansas., flew to Chicago to visit a friend. With Rehman were Ali Kanchwala, 36, a close friend and a pulmonologist who also worked at Stormont-Vail HealthCare, and Kanchwala’s wife, Maria Javaid, 37, a cardiologist at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas., said Ms. Javaid’s brother, Bilal Javaid. All three were also identified in a release from Stormont-Vail this afternoon.
“Dr. Rehman and Dr. Kanchwala were extremely valued, highly skilled and beloved members of our staff,” said Randy Peterson, president and chief executive officer of Stormont-Vail HealthCare.
“We are heartbroken. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these individuals and the staff who worked closely with them.”
No distress call was sent from the plane, said John Brannen, senior air safety investigator for the NTSB.
“The plane simply dropped off the radar,” Brannen said.
The pilot, Rehman, had a private license and was trained on single and multi-engine planes, Brannen said.
“He was a pretty good pilot, and I flew with him a lot,” said Ahsan Awan, who, a close friend of Rehman. “He was always very careful. I have no idea how this could have happened.”