The family of the student pilot from India died in the light-plane crash near Christchurch last week have travelled from India to collect the body of their beloved.
Police officially released the name of the student pilot on Sunday as 23-year-old Ramprakash Srikumar, who came to New Zealand to train as a commercial pilot.
The plane Ramprakash flying belonged to the Canterbury Aero Club. Ramprakash joined the Club about a year ago and was training here with the goal of flying a commercial airline someday in India.
Ramprakash was doing night flying exercise when the incident happened. He was flying Cessna 172 plane when it went down on Thursday night, November 21, crashing into the dry lake bed of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere near Motukurara, south of Christchurch.
"Ramprakash's parents and younger brother have travelled from their hometown in Chennai, India on Monday, November 25 to collect his body," Vijay Nainamalai, president of Canterbury Indian Tamil Association told The Indian Weekender.
"Evidently, the family and friends of the deceased are devastated with this tragic incident, and the family plans to repatriate Ramprakash's body to their hometown in India to conducts his last rites in the presence of their friends and extended family there," Mr Nainamalai added.
Ramprakash was the sole occupant of the plane when it crashed. Police worked with Maritime NZ's Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) to locate the plane late on Thursday night.
Stuff.co.nz reported that Canterbury Aero Club Chief Executive Jeremy Ford said, "He [Ramprakash] was a well respected young man by his friends and colleagues at work and they all speak highly of him as an engaged individual, and really our thoughts are with the family."
Speaking to The Indian Weekender, Mr Ford said both its students and staff are receiving counselling from a support network group after the news of the incident came out.
Mr Nainamalai from CITA is assisting Ramprakash's family in Christchurch, liaising with the funeral home and The Indian High Commission to assist with the body repatriation process.
Ramprakash's body will be repatriated on Tuesday, December 9.
The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the crash.
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