PARON, Ark. (AP) - A Missouri family of six on their way home
from a festival in Arkansas died when their small plane crashed in
a heavily wooded area.
The single-engine plane, a Piper PA-32, went down in northern
Saline County in misty weather about 3 p.m. Sunday, officials said.
It broke into pieces and caught fire.
A Missouri neurologist, his wife and four children were aboard
the plane. Officials said Dr. Mohammad Shakil, 53, of Cape
Girardeau was flying the craft.
Monday, the wreckage was spread out in a straight line about
300-feet long. Federal investigators were trying to determine the
cause of the accident.
Shakil's brother, Shafiq Malik of Cape Girardeau, told the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Shakil was accompanied by his wife,
Farida, 51; his sons, Osman, 17, and Hassan, 15; and daughters,
Sabeen, 13, and Rabiya, 11. All died in the crash, he said.
The family had been in Hot Springs for the annual Arkansas
Oktoberfest.
"They were just down there for the festivals and activities, to
take pictures and things," said Shakil's office manager, Tina
Plaskie. "They left Sunday around noon. We're not sure about the
exact departure time."
Galen Nelson, chief of the Paron Volunteer Fire Department, said
witnesses recounted the aircraft flying low over the area before it
crashed.
"The motor was sputtering," he said. "They were having some
problems."
Witnesses told police they heard the plane, then heard an
explosion and saw smoke.
"It's pretty gruesome," state police Sgt. Ron Casey said. "I
would describe it as a tornado without wind damage."
Sally Owen, a spokeswoman for Southeast Missouri Hospital in
Cape Girardeau, said Shakil practiced at both Southeast and nearby
St. Francis Regional Medical Center. She said Shakil earned his
medical degree in 1971 in Pakistan and had been on the medical
staff at Southeast since 1981.
Plaskie, the office manager, said Shakil was active in the
Muslim community and was president of the Islamic Center in Cape
Girardeau.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)