New York, October 12
A twin-engine plane owned by an Indian-origin cardiologist has crashed in the US state of California, killing two persons, including the physician, and causing a fire that engulfed nearby homes and left a swath of destruction, according to media reports.
Dr Sugata Das, who worked as an interventional cardiologist at Yuma Regional Medical Centre (YRMC) in Arizona, owned the small plane, according to the centre. However, there's no confirmation whether Das was the pilot at the time of the crash on Monday, KYMA.com, a CBS/NBC-affiliated TV station, reported on Tuesday.
"We are deeply sad to hear news of a plane owned by local cardiologist Sugata Das, which crashed near Santee (California)," YRMC's Chief Medical Officer Bharat Magu said in a statement.
"As an outstanding cardiologist and dedicated family man, Das leaves a lasting legacy. We extend our prayers and support to his family, colleagues, and friends during this difficult time," Magu said.
The crash near Santana High School in Santee appeared to have sparked a fire that burned at least two homes, damaged five others and several vehicles, but responding firefighters were able to put out the blaze before it spread to other houses.
Another person who died was a UPS worker who was on the ground.
UPS confirmed that one of its employees was killed during the plane crash. "We are heartbroken by the loss of our employee, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We also send our condolences for the other individuals who are involved in this incident, and their families and friends." KXTV, an ABC affiliate, reported, citing a statement issued by the UPS.
At around 12.30 pm (local time), authorities began receiving reports of a plane down in a neighbourhood on Greencastle Street, the report added.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the plane was a twin-engine Cessna C340 and crashed at about 12.15 pm.
"We do not yet know how many people were on board,” it said.
The Cessna C340 is usually used for business and is pressurised. The plane has the capacity to seat six passengers, with two seats in the front and two in the back.
Born in a Bengali family, Das grew up in Pune. He was also the director of the Power of Love Foundation, a US non-profit organisation that is involved in helping women and children overseas that are infected or affected by AIDS and HIV, according to its website.
The website said Das, the father of two boys, lived in San Diego and was the owner of a twin-engine Cessna 340 and an instrument-rated pilot who flew between his home and Yuma. PTI
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