Aviation News

June 19, 2011

Parents of ‘Chick-Lit’ Author Killed in Ohio Plane Crash

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By: Matt Molnar
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Two people were killed early Sunday morning when a small plane crashed at Rickenbacker International Airport in central Ohio, state police said.

Cirrus SR-22 N526PG

Cirrus SR-22 N526PG on a happier day. (Photo via stlouisaircraft.com)

The accident happened at around 8:52 am local time when a Cirrus CR22 (N526PG) airplane was attempting to take off on a flight to New Jersey and crashed east of the runway. The plane caught fire upon impact, killing both the pilot and his passenger.

After the accident, the bomb squad of the Columbus Division of Fire was called to the scene to deactivate a parachute deployment charge that the plane was equipped with. The parachute charge was deactivated without incident.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol identified the pilot as 54-year-old Viswanathan Rajaraman and his wife, 50-year-old Mary J. Sundaram, both of Franklin Lakes, NJ.

The couple’s daughter, Kaavya Viswanathan, made headlines while a Harvard undergrad in 2007, when she was accused of plagiarizing large chunks of her first book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. The unprecedented two-book, half-million dollar contract she had signed with Little, Brown & Co. as a high school student was torn up and her career as a “chick-lit” author came to an abrupt halt.

Rajaraman and Sundaram had stopped in Ohio to refuel while on their way back to NJ after visiting their daughter, who had just graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., according to published reports.

According to federal records, the 2008-built aircraft was registered to Buds Aviation LLC out of Bergen, New Jersey.

It was not immediately known what caused the accident, which will be investigated by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

With BNO News Service