A distinguished Hackensack neurosurgeon and his wife were killed Sunday in a single-plane accident at the Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.
Viswanathan Rajaraman, 54, and his wife, Mary J. Sundaram, 50, were the only people aboard the 2008 Cirrus SR22 when it suddenly crashed east of the runway onto an Ohio cornfield and burst into flames shortly after take-off.
According to a news release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the plane was taking off after refueling at the airport. Lt. Gary Lewis of the State Highway Patrol said the couple attended the graduation of their daughter in Washington, D.C. and were returning to Essex County, NBC4 reported. Rajaraman was piloting the flight back to Fairfield. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
Rajaraman, co-chief of neuro-oncology at Hackensack University Medical Center, specialized in brain and spine cancer, and cerebral (brain) aneurysms, amongst other things, his professional profile on HealthGrade.com read. Dr. Rajaraman completed undergrad studies at Loyola College in Madras, India, graduating in 1976. He graduated from Madras Medical College, Tamil Nadu Dr Mgr Medical University in Chennai, India and completed his Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.He was amongst the more notable physicians in the state. His wife, Sundaram was also a doctor, but stopped practicing medicine to raise their daughter, Kaavya Viswanathan, now 24, and a recent graduate of Georgetown University’s law school. He and his wife resided in Franklin Lakes.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, who sent investigators to the scene, and the National Transportation Safety Board, said Tony Molinaro, an FAA spokesman, NJ.com reported.
The Rajarman's daughter made news headlines in 2006 when she was accused of plagiarism following the release of her first book, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life." The chick-lit novel made the New York Times bestsellers list, but was yanked from shelves after it was discovered that she plagiarized language from two novels written by New Jersey author Megan McCafferty. Her publisher, which canceled her contract, later destroyed copies of Viswanathan’s book, the Times of India reported.