Dr Khurana with family
Image Credit: Social Media/Twitter

New York: A prominent Indian-American doctor couple and their 19-year-old daughter, who were killed when their small private plane crashed in suburban Philadelphia, died of multiple injuries resulting from the accident, according to authorities.

The victims of the crash on August 8 were 60-year-old Dr Jasvir Khurana, his wife, 54-year-old Dr Divya Khurana, and their daughter, Kiran Khurana.

Khurana, a licensed pilot, was at the controls of the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft, which was registered to him. The plane crashed in the backyard of a suburban Philadelphia home on Thursday early morning.

Montgomery County Coroner Dr Michael Milbourne on Monday said that through a combination of methods, the victims of the plane crash were positively identified as Jasvir Khurana, his wife Divya and their daughter Kiran.

"The cause of death for all three victims is determined to be multiple injuries, and the manner of death is accident," Milbourne said in a statement.

The statement noted that on the morning of August 8, the Montgomery County Coroner's Office was called to the scene of a plane crash in a residential neighbourhood of Upper Moreland Township.

Deputy Coroners responded to the scene and recovered the remains of three victims from the wreckage.

"A multi-agency investigation is ongoing, and the Coroner is charged with positively identifying the victims, ensure the legal next of kin have been notified of the deaths, and determine cause and manner of death through examination and forensic testing," the statement said.

The couple's eldest daughter was not on the airplane on Thursday, the family was taking the flight out to California to visit her, US media reported.

The husband-and-wife physician-researchers, both trained at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), moved to the US more than two decades ago.

The National Transportation Security Board (NTSB) said the plane left Northeast Philadelphia Airport shortly after 6 am and was heading to The Ohio State University Airport in Columbus.

The flight lasted for about three minutes before the aircraft went down. The plane's final destination was supposed to be St. Louis, Missouri, US media reports said.

The debris of the plane were 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.

No one on the ground was injured, Upper Moreland Police Chief Michael Murphy said last Thursday.

"It's a strictly residential neighbourhood. I don't know what the pilot was thinking or what he was doing but it is a miracle that no homes were struck," Murphy said.

Dr. Khurana was a faculty member in the Department of Pathology at Temple University where he studied 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," the university said in a statement.

"He made major contributions to the teaching program here, both the residency program and the medical student program. He is somebody who we value greatly," said Dr. Larry Kaiser, Lewis Katz Dean/President CEO Temple University Health System.

Dr. Divya, was a doctor at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia as a neurologist.

"[Divya] was loved by her patients and students alike. Her sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of all who knew and loved her,” St. Christopher's said in a statement.

Dr. Agustin Legido worked with Dr. Divya for 20 years, said, she was a dear friend.

"She was calm, kind, a team player and always very positive," ABC News quoted Dr. Legido, Section Chief of Neurology at St. Christopher's Hospital as saying.

Kiran, their younger daughter, graduated last year from Harriton High School in Bryn Mawr, where she was on a nationally ranked squash team and was active in theatre productions.

"They were just wonderful, lovely, sweet neighbours," said Faith Stander, who lives a few doors down from the Khuranas.

Adam Gerhardt, an air safety investigator for the NTSB, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the investigation would last several days. A preliminary report is expected in 10 to 15 days, and a final report within a year.

"Looking at every component including the airplane the engine, maintenance records, pilot records. Including all of that information so that what we're working towards is a comprehensive final report," Gerhardt said.