Roma Gupta died in the crash while her daughter Reeva is in critical condition with third-degree burns
An Indian American woman was killed and her daughter and the pilot were critically injured as their plane crashed in Long Island while trying to land after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit.
Roma Gupta, 63, died in the crash. Her daughter, 33-year-old Reeva, was listed in critical condition at Stony Brook Hospital with third-degree burns, NBC reported.
Reeva is a physician’s assistant in the Mount Sinai system, whose colleagues say she has a long, painful recovery ahead.
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The 23-year-old flight instructor operating the plane was also in critical condition Monday, the TV channel said citing the Danny Waizman Flight School, which owns the plane.
“The two patients critically injured, severely burned, to my knowledge they were pulled from the plane from a civilian,” North Lindenhurst Fire Dept. Chief Kenny Stallone was quoted as saying.
The burned and mangled remnants of the Piper PA 28 still lay in the North Lindenhurst field Monday, a day after narrowly missing a handful of homes and landing short of its destination.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the pilot of the single-engine plane declared an emergency while returning to Republic Airport in Farmingdale Sunday afternoon. The airport is roughly 20 miles east of New York City.
NBC cited Suffolk County Police as saying the group had taken off from the same airport at 2:18 pm. and the pilot issued a mayday signal a short time later. Multiple home security cameras captured the fiery crash, with thick black smoke filling the air.
An attorney for the flight school said the pilot had all his ratings and certifications, and the plane involved in the crash had just passed two stringent inspections, the most recent last week.
“It was a demonstration flight an introductory flight to see if people are interested so it’s not considered an actual flight lesson but they received a promotional coupon from Groupon and that’s how they found the flight school,” attorney Oleh Dekajlo was quoted as saying.
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Cockpit transmissions indicate the pilot was concerned about a fire. Why the plane crashed and what may have happened in the air has yet to be determined by investigators. But emergency officials said it’s fortunate the plane crashed where it did.
“The fatality is very unfortunate, but this could have been a lot worse,” Stallone said. “I also like to think that he did pick the wooded area to avoid the houses.”
Federal investigators are expected to return to the crash site for a third time on Tuesday to remove the wreckage for further analysis.
Reeva’s colleagues at Mount Sinai West have organized a Gofundme fundraiser for the family of Reeva and Roma Gupta. To date it has raised $111,687 of a $150,000 goal.
“On March 5, 2023, Reeva Gupta and her mother Roma had a beautiful day planned together. To help fulfill a long-standing wish of theirs, they booked a flight lesson in Long Island,” the appeal recounted.
“While the flight was airborne, smoke was reported in the cockpit. The plane tried to make an emergency landing but ultimately crashed into a neighborhood in Lindenhurst, where the plane burst into flames.
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“Reeva and the pilot were airlifted to the closest, and best, burn center on Long Island, Stony Brook University Hospital. Reeva is in critical condition, with third-degree burns over her body. She is fighting for her life. Tragically, Roma did not survive the accident. May she rest in peace.
“We are raising funds to help support Reeva and her family during this unprecedented trying time, through transportation, lodging, food assistance and medical expenses. She faces a long, painful recovery, and her family, who needs to be at her bedside, lives far from eastern Long Island.
“Please help support this incredible, caring, selfless young woman as she and her family need the love, caring and consideration that she provides to others every day,” the appeal said.