Three Lawrence residents killed in small plane crash near Chicago

Workers on Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, remove the wreckage of a small plane that crashed late Sunday night in the Chicago suburb of Palos Hills. Three people on board were killed in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said there were no obvious reasons why the twin-engine Beechcraft Baron plane crashed shortly after a takeoff from Chicago's Midway's International Airport for what the Federal Aviation Administration said was to be a flight to Lawrence, Kan.

Tausif Rehman

Ali Kanchwala

Maria Javaid

Three Lawrence residents, all physicians, were killed when their small plane crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday night in Chicago.

The twin-engine Beechcraft Baron crashed around 10:40 p.m. Sunday in the Chicago suburb of Palos Hills, shortly after takeoff from Chicago Midway Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane was bound for Lawrence Municipal Airport.

Tausif Rehman, Ali A. Kanchwala and Maria Javaid were aboard the plane, according to Stormont-Vail HealthCare spokeswoman Nancy Burkhardt. Rehman was a neurosurgeon and Kanchwala was a pulmonologist at Topeka’s Cotton-O’Neil Clinic, a division of Stormont-Vail HealthCare. Javaid, who was married to Kanchwala, was an interventional cardiologist at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

“Dr. Rehman and Dr. Kanchwala were extremely valued, highly skilled and beloved members of our staff,” Randy Peterson, president and chief executive officer of Stormont-Vail HealthCare, said in a statement. “We are heartbroken. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these individuals and the staff who worked closely with them. These physicians were deeply committed to their patients and to bringing the best of care to our community. We also extend our deepest sympathies to the Providence Medical Center staff for the loss of Dr. Javaid.”

Rehman attended medical school in Pakistan and had residencies in New Mexico and New York before coming to Kansas, according to his hospital staff profile. Kanchwala also went to medical school in Pakistan and had a residency in New York.

Rehman was a pilot and owned a plane, Burkhardt said. According state business filings, Rehmen is the registered agent of the business that owns the plane that crashed, Arc Aviation LLC.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash but released few details Monday.

John Brannen, a NTSB investigator, said the pilot did not make a distress call before the plane “simply dropped off the radar.”

Brannen said investigators would go to Midway, where the plane had been fueled, to take samples from the fuel truck to determine if there were any problems with the fuel. He also said investigators have not ruled out the overcast weather and the pilot’s experience as possible factors in the crash.

The plane’s stay in Chicago appears to have been short.

It left Lawrence just after noon Sunday and arrived at Chicago Midway about 2:15 p.m., according to flight tracking information from FlightAware. The last flight logged was Oct. 2, when the plane took off and landed at Lawrence Municipal Airport with an hour and a half in the air.

When first-responders arrived at the crash scene, the plane was destroyed and it was “fairly obvious” that no one on board survived, said James Boie, Palos Hills deputy police chief.

The plane did not damage any buildings or catch fire, Boie said. He said it hit some trees and came close to one house but, fortunately, landed in the only open field in the all-residential area.

Neighbors reported seeing the plane circling and hearing sputtering before the plane came down, Boie said.

Barbara Janusz, who lives with her daughter’s family in a house where she said the plane’s wings came to rest, said about 50-60 people live on the block and a couple hundred more in apartments a block away.

“It would have been a total disaster, too awful to think about,” she said.