Dream of Learning to Fly Ends in Tragedy for NJ Mom and Daughter
A quest to fulfill a long-standing dream to learn to fly has ended in tragedy for a New Jersey woman and her adult daughter.
Roma Gupta, 63, of Whitehouse Station, booked a flying lesson with her daughter, Reeva, 33, of Pennsylvania. They left from Republic Airport in East Farmingdale shortly after 2 PM on Sunday, March 5th.
According to a statement on a GoFundMe campaign organized on behalf of the Gupta family, shortly after takeoff, the pilot issued a mayday signal for smoke in the cockpit.
The GoFundMe campaign had raised over $144,000 as of Wednesday morning.
The pilot has been identified as New York City resident Fayzul Chowdhury, 23, of the Bronx.
Chowdhury was attempting to make an emergency landing, according to the victim's family, "But ultimately crashed into a neighborhood in Lindenhurst, where the plane burst into flames. Reeva and the pilot were airlifted to the closest, and best, burn center on Long Island, Stony Brook University Hospital."
Roma Gupta was pronounced dead at the scene.
As the pilot was attempting to return to the airport in East Farmingdale, the single-engine Piper aircraft crashed in a residential section of North Lindenhurst.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the exact cause of the crash.
No preliminary findings have been released as of the time this article was published.