A Rockdale doctor and his wife were killed in a single-engine plane crash in southeast Georgia as they were flying back from Florida on Sunday.
Dr. Sid Shah, 58, and his wife Shama Gamkhar, 55, of Tucker were headed from Fernandina Beach, Fla. to Lawrenceville when the Hawker Beechcraft A36 single-engine aircraft he was piloting suddenly went down about 14 miles from the town of Alma, Georgia. Shah and his wife were the only ones in the six-passenger plane, which was registered to APS Aviation, LLC out of Jonesboro, Clayton County.
Bacon County Deputy Coroner Roy Crosby said a passerby discovered the crash and notified emergency medical personel just before noon. He said there was no fire at the crash site.
The weather was good that day, said Crosby. "He was on an instrument flight plan with Jacksonville Center. They lost him at 5,000 feet," said Crosby. "He just came down in the treetops at a high rate of speed."
National Transportation Safety Board investigators are on the scene investigating the crash. An autopsy will be performed on Dr. Shah's body.
Dr. Shah came to Rockdale Medical Center's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center in 2007 as the Medical Director. While at Rockdale Medical Center, Dr. Shah worked with patients to treat and cure long-term chronic wounds. During the course of his work at the center, he was able to prevent amputation of legs and feet due to wounds and infection in close to 500 patients.
Deborah Armstrong, CEO of Rockdale Medical Center, said, "The Rockdale Medical Center family is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Dr. Sid Shah and his wife, Shama Gamkhar.
"Dr. Shah was an extraordinary physician and was well-respected by his peers, his staff and his patients. He was an integral member of the Rockdale Medical Center medical staff. "
When asked to describe Dr. Shah in one word, Armstrong said, "The word would be 'beloved.' He was loved by his staff, his patients and his colleagues."
Dr. Shah's wife Shama Gamkhar was also respected and beloved as an Associate Professor in Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs. Gamkhar was an expert in environmental economic policy and a teacher of public finance and financial management.
"We have lost a beloved colleague, devoted teacher and wonderful friend, whose memory and example we will carry with us," said Robert Hutchings, Dean of the LBJ School. "Our hearts go out to Shama and Sid's family and friends."
Gamkhar joined the LBJ School in 1996 as an Assistant Professor and more recently served as graduate adviser for the Master of Public Affairs degree program.
A memorial page for Gamkhar was set up here: http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/news/2013/long-time-faculty-member-shama-gamkhar-%20dies-plane-crash/memorial