What to Know
- A Temple University professor, his wife and teen daughter were killed in a small plane crash in Upper Moreland Twp., Montgomery County.
- The victims were identified as Dr. Jasvir "Jesse" Khurana, 60, his wife, Dr. Divya Khurana, 54, and their daughter, Kiran Khurana, 19.
- The plane had taken off just minutes earlier from Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
A Temple University doctor, a Drexel University doctor, and their teen daughter were killed when their small plane sliced through backyards in a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, neighborhood shortly after takeoff Thursday morning.
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Dr. Jasvir "Jesse" Khurana, 60, his wife, Dr. Divya Khurana, 54, and their daughter, Kiran Khurana, 19, of Lower Merion Township, were all on board a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza at Northeast Philadelphia Airport.
NBC10 obtained audio of Dr. Jasvir Khurana, who had a pilot's license and was the pilot of the aircraft, speaking to air traffic control moments before the flight took off. In the audio, Dr. Khurana incorrectly repeats back parts of the route that were dictated to him by the tower controller. A frequency mix up is then heard.
The propeller plane then took off from Northeast Philadelphia Airport at 6:12 a.m. and was headed to Columbus, Ohio, officials said.
About three minutes later, the flight crashed behind homes along Minnie Lane near Morris Road in Upper Moreland, about nine miles from the airport. Police arrived at the crash site shortly after receiving a 911 call around 6:20 a.m. and found the bodies of all three family members.
Debris could be seen strewn across a length of more than a football field that covers four yards. The aircraft came to rest in a wooded area after striking the ground, a gazebo, backyard shed, fence and several trees.
"There are pieces of debris spread out over four backyards," Upper Moreland Township Police Chief Mike Murphy said.
No one on the ground was hurt and the plane didn't hit any homes, only the shed, according to investigators.
"It's a miracle that no homes were struck," Murphy said.
The county coroner arrived on the scene later Thursday morning and recovered the bodies.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene later Thursday morning. They said there were no indications that Dr. Khurana made any sort of distress call, according to Murphy.
Officials have not yet determined the cause of the crash. The National Weather Service reported conditions were overcast and hazy and appeared to be under instrument flight rules (IFR). IFR means the pilot would need to follow rules for flying in clouds.
NTSB officials are investigating the incident. The plane will be moved to a secure facility in Clayton, Delaware.
Neighbor Linda Alberson heard a boom, louder than thunder, and walked to see what it was. She saw the damaged shed nearby.
Homeowner Chris Crane had debris in his backyard and had his gazebo damaged.
"The house shook," Crane said.
The noise the wreck made sounded like nothing Crane had heard before.
We’re getting a closer look at some of the yards impacted by plane debris
Homeowner tells me the crash shook his home.
“Sounded like thunder, I’ve never heard a noise like that before.”@NBCPhiladelphia pic.twitter.com/rvlVhfm8JF — Miguel Martinez-Valle (@MiguelMValle) August 8, 2019
Crews could be seen blocking roads leading to the crash site.
The investigation in the neighborhood could take a couple of days, Murphy said. Police were hoping home surveillance video may have captured the last moments of the flight.
The plane was destined for another location after a stop in Ohio, according to Murphy. He did not reveal the final destination.
The flight-tracking site Flight Aware reports that the plane, tail No. N4082S, reached an estimated altitude of about 1,200 feet before quickly dropping. Flight Aware listed the estimated duration for Thursday's flight plan to be around 2 hours, 38 minutes.
The previous two flights registered to that tail number both originated and landed at Northeast Philadelphia Airport two weekends ago and lasted less than an hour.
Dr. Jasvir Khurana was a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine with a focus on bone pathology.
"Dr. Khurana has been a valued faculty member in the Department of Pathology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University since 2002. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones," a spokesperson for Temple wrote in a statement.
Dr. Khurana's wife, Dr. Divya Khurana, was a professor of pediatrics and neurology at the Drexel University College of Medicine, specializing in pediatrics, sleep medicine and pediatric neurology. She was also a nationally recognized leader in epilepsy and mitochondrial disorders, according to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, where she had worked for more than two decades.
"She was loved by her patients and students alike," a spokesperson for St. Christopher's wrote. "Her sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of all who knew and loved her. The entire team of St. Christopher's offers their deepest sympathies to her family and friends at this very sad time. Her passing is truly a loss for the entire community."
The couple's daughter, Kiran, graduated from Harriton High School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 2018.
"One of our kindest students," Harriton High School principal Scott Weinstein said. "She was humble, serving of others and had an extremely bright future. We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss."
The couple is survived by their oldest daughter who was not on the plane at the time of the crash.