Plane crash hits close to home for superintendent

Published 9:37 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A deadly plane crash in Nepal over the weekend has hit close tohome for Brookhaven, leaving at least two mourning the loss ofloved ones aboard the flight.

Anajan Karmacharya, along with his wife, Brookhaven School DistrictSuperintendent Dr. Lisa Karmacharya, is grieving the death of twoof his brothers, Jagajan and Niranjan, and a sister-in-law.

All 19 people on the flight were killed early Sunday as the BuddhaAir plane went down while returning to Kathmandu, the Nepalicapital. The plane took off from Kathmandu an hour earlier to tourthe Himalayas, according to the Times of India.

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“It’s been an incredibly difficult weekend for us,” Dr. Karmacharyasaid Monday morning. “We got the call early Saturday morning ourtime. That was the most devastating phone call I’ve received. Justshocking.”

Jagajan, 45, a vascular surgeon at the University of Miami HealthSystem/Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine before his death, andhis companion Natalie Neilan, were visiting brother Niranjan, 36,and his wife Sarda at a home in the foothills of the Himalayas,according to the superintendent.

The four were on the small aircraft touring the peak of MountEverest and its surrounding summits.

The plane lost contact with its control tower in Kathmandu at about7:30 a.m. as it was returning to land. It crashed about 20kilometers away from the city, according to the Times ofIndia.

“When they died, the family lost brothers, sons, husbands, fathers,mothers, daughters,” Dr. Karmacharya said. “It’s just beendevastating.”

Dr. Karmacharya explained the flight tours are a large part of theeconomy in Nepal, a mostly indigent country. She described her ownthoughts on seeing images of the crash on the news.

“It looked to me like it just exploded as soon as it hit the sideof the mountains,” she said.

She said it was she and Anajan’s understanding that weather andvisibility issues had played a part in making for a difficultlanding when the plane crashed into the side of a hill.

She said Anajan, who has one other brother from Philadelphia, Pa.,left for Nepal Monday to be with his family.

“No words can really explain how we’ve felt the past 48 hours,” Dr.Karmacharya continued. “But we’ve had lots of concern and sinceresupport from friends, family and loved ones. We’re truly blessedfor all the love we’ve received.

“We’ve just had a lot of prayer for Anajan and his family. Andthat’s the only thing that’s going to get us through. His parentsjust lost two of their children at the same time. I cannot fathomwhat that would be like.”