The Houston man who owned a plane that crashed in Kingston on Wednesday evening, leaving all seven people on board dead, received his licence in 2018, and bought his plane earlier this year, according to the president of the American flight school that trained him.
Dana Atkinson, president of Anson Aviation, told Global News that Otabek Oblokulov — who died in the crash along with his wife Zamira, their three kids, and two other Canadian passengers — was a member of the flying community at the Sugar Land Airport in Texas.
Atkinson told Global News the family’s death was a “great tragedy.”
Atkinson said Oblokulov graduated from Anson Aviation in May 2018, and that the school helped him buy the plane, a Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, that crashed in Kingston.
Atkinson said Oblokulov specifically bought the plane because he had plans to fly with his friends and family, which it seems is what he was doing when the plane went down in Kingston Wednesday evening.
“He wanted that plane to fit his desires, so he could carry a lot of people and a substantial load,” Atkinson told Global News.
Along with the five members of the Oblokulov family, including three children —one about four or five years of age, an eight-year-old and a 15-year-old — two Canadians died in the crash.
The Transportation Safety Board would not release any of the names of those who died in the crash, but a GoFundMe has been set up for Bobomurod Nabiev, saying he and his wife died along with “family members” in the crash on Nov. 27.
“Bobomurod recently got married, he was enjoying his happy days, and the newlywed couple had big plans ahead,” the GoFundMe reads.
The site says Bobomurod was active in the Uzbek community in Toronto. Friends of Otabek Oblokulov says he too was very active in the Uzbek community in Texas.
The organizer of the GoFundMe, Ilhomjon Kasymov, who the page says is based in Scarborough, has yet to respond to a request for comment.
The Ontario chief coroner’s office says it will perform post-mortem examinations in the coming days on the four adults and three children who died in in Wednesday’s plane crash.
A spokeswoman for the coroner’s office says the victims’ names likely won’t be released for several days.
“The identities of the deceased persons will not be released to authorities until they have all been positively identified by scientific methods and next of kin have been notified,” issues manager Cheryl Mahyr said in a statement Friday.
The Transportation Safety Board said Oblokulov’s plane collided with the ground around 5 p.m. Wednesday, after communicating with air traffic control at the Kingston airport its intentions to land. The crash site is just 2.8 nautical miles away from the airport.
Ken Webster, the Transportation Safety Board investigator leading the probe into the crash, says the angle of impact was very steep, although the cause is still unknown.
The board says they will be looking into potential causes for the collision, including weather, which was severe at times in the Kingston area on Wednesday evening.
—With files from The Canadian Press.