A young woman killed in a plane crash near Ramona on Sunday was a student pilot who came from Bangladesh to learn to fly — following in her father’s profession.
Friends and family identified the 20-year-old crash victim as Shaira Noor. She was a student of the American Aviation Academy in El Cajon, and was aboard one of the school’s planes with another student and a teacher during an instructional flight.
The other student and the teacher survived the crash, pulling themselves out of the wreckage of the single-engine Cessna 172S and walking to higher ground to get help. Noor’s body was recovered from the plane Monday morning.
Her death has stunned family and friends.
A longtime family friend, Atiq Rahman, said Tuesday that he had been in touch with Noor’s parents, who live in Bangladesh. Her father, Zakir Hussain, flies Boeing airplanes as a commercial pilot for Biman airlines.
“She wanted to be like her dad, a commercial pilot and she wanted to fly all over the world, that was her goal,” Rahman said.
The young woman is also survived by her mother, Simkey Hussain, and brother, Zarik Hussain, who is 18 and lives with his parents in the city of Dhaka.
Rahman, 50, lives in Los Angeles but is currently back in his home country of Bangladesh. He said Noor went by the nickname “Lamisa,” which means “beautiful flower.”
While attending the school, Noor lived with a family in El Cajon but enjoyed touring the Los Angeles area with family.
“We visited with her in Los Angeles and she took us all around, to the Hollywood sign, to Beverly Hills, to Santa Monica,” Rahman said. “She was really a friendly, polite girl.”
Another friend, Desai Shubham, called Noor “a shy girl who didn’t go out much” but loved flying most of all.
Shubham is currently in India but used to live near Noor in El Cajon. He studied flying with her at American Aviation Academy for a year.
“She was very passionate for flying,” Shubham said.
He said he believes Noor was in the back seat of the plane when it went down.
Mark Hannawa, recruiter and student liaison at the American Aviation Academy, said Noor “was like a daughter to me while she was with us.”
“We will miss her kindness and soft demeanor,” he said. “All we ask for now is prayers for her and her family, which are grieving.”
A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said the students were learning how to do an emergency landing when their plane went down in a remote and rugged area called Pamo Valley, near Ramona.
The survivors, ages 25 and 28, crawled out of the plane and hiked until they could get cell phone service. They were able to call 911 about 2:30 p.m.
It took sheriff’s and fire officials about an hour to find them and the crash site, about 9 miles north/northeast of Ramona on the side of a mountain.
(The San Diego Union Tribune)