Two families from Uzbekistan killed in Canada plane crash: ambassador

TORONTO (Reuters) - Two families from Uzbekistan died earlier this week when their single-engine aircraft crashed in a wooded area on the outskirts of Kingston, Ontario, killing all seven people aboard, the Uzbekistan ambassador said in a tweet on Friday.

“Deeply saddened by the plane crash in Kingston,” Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov wrote on Twitter, adding that the crash killed children aged 3, 11 and 15 years old.

Vakhabov said the embassy was in touch with the Kingston police and the coroner’s office.

Kingston Police said on Wednesday that seven people in a Piper PA-32 aircraft died when the plane crashed that evening. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada had said it was dispatching a team to investigate the crash.

The families were from Houston and a prominent part of the city’s Uzbek community, said friend Askarali Karimov. He said the plane belonged to 37-year-old Otabek Oblakulov who was flying it with his wife, three children, brother and sister-in-law on board.

“Generous, courageous, happy - this is a family you could rely on without even blinking,” Karimov said.

“All of us are just devastated.”

Oblakulov was a licensed pilot with thousands of flight hours under his belt, Karimov said.

“He would never, ever, ever risk his family’s life.”

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Tom Brown