July 14, 2020

Pilot killed in light plane crash was an Indian student

Srikumar was in NZ to train as a commercial pilot

The pilot killed in the Canterbury light plane crash on Thursday, 21 November was 23-year-old student trainee pilot, Ramprakash Srikumar.

Srikumar came to New Zealand to ‘live his dream’ of becoming a commercial pilot from a small town Srivilliputhur​ in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.

He  was the solo pilot on board the plane belonging to Canterbury Aero Club that he joined about a year ago and was training towards flying commercial airlines in India. 

Srikumar’s parents, who are still in India, were reportedly “absolutely devastated and in shock” after hearing the tragic loss of their son. 

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Wellington has offered sincere condolences to the family of the deceased, Srikumar, and its officials told NewsViews they are in touch with the family and offering all necessary assistance. More details are still awaited.

Plane wreckage
Wreckage of Cessna 172 (Courtesy: Westpac Rescue Helicopter/Stuff)

Srikumar was undertaking a flight required for night flying rating when the light plane Cessna 172 crashed into the dry bed of Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury around 10.15 pm on Thursday.

According to an eye witness report in The Stuff, there was “no explosion” or “flames” seen when the light plane came crashing down “at a hell of a speed”.

The emergency location transmitter activated automatically when the plane crashed and signal was received at 10.20 pm by the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ.

Westpac Rescue helicopter was dispatched within minutes, and the crew found the wreckage with the tail of the plane sticking out of the mud. The pilot, now identified as Ramprakash Srikumar, had not survived the impact.

There is no immediate indication of the cause of the crash and the Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the crash. Srikumar’s death has been notified to the coroner.

Cessna 172 aircraft that are used for training (Courtesy: CAC)

Canterbury Aero Club (CAC) is the largest aero club in New Zealand and was established in 1928.

The Cessna 172, according to CAC website, is a “popular aircraft and is renowned industry wide as a reliable smooth and extremely well performing aircraft”.