Thursday, January 03, 2019

Hawke's Bay aviation academy 'devastated' after losing Indian pilot

A Hawke's Bay flight academy is still coming to terms with the loss of one of its up-and-coming pilots.

Aman Kumar had been swimming with five other students at Maraetotara Falls on December 21 when he failed to resurface after diving into the water.

His body was recovered by the Police National Dive Squad the next morning.

The 20-year-old came to New Zealand to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot and began training at Air Hawke's Bay in January last year.
Chief executive Kevin England said Kumar was nearing the end of his commercial pilot training and believed he had similar aspirations to his peers to return home to become an airline pilot.

"It is devastating for everyone, realising he will not be able to fulfil that dream."

England said they were "deeply saddened" and have been providing support to fellow students with the assistance of Victim Support and the local temple.

"We couldn't begin to imagine how the family are feeling back in India and have expressed deepest sympathy to them," England said.

"That first phone call with the family confirming Aman's passing was not a pleasant experience."

Kumar's body was returned to India on December 31, after being released by the Coroner four days prior.
"Being so far away the family were desperate to have Aman returned home soon as possible and we kept them informed throughout the process," England said.

"The family are having difficulties in understanding the NZ processes which has been challenging for all.

"Unfortunately, the holiday period contributed further delays with the return of Aman and we were grateful for the funeral services of Terry Longley & Son and the Indian Consulate in arranging the best possible outcome available over that period."
03/01/19 Astrid Austin/Hawkes Bay Today/