The Missouri City community is in mourning following the death of an area family the night before Thanksgiving.
Authorities in Kingston, Ontario said a small Piper PA-32 plane crashed there after colliding with rough terrain the evening of Nov. 27, killing all seven people on board, including 37-year-old Missouri City resident Otabek Oblokulov and his immediate family. Officials do not yet know the cause of the crash.
Houston resident Shahriyor Ortikov – who was friends with Oblokulov and his family for more than 20 years – said he was the first to greet Oblokulov at the airport when he moved to the Houston area from their native Uzbekistan in August 2011.
“We’ve been through hard and good times together. He was my brother,” Ortikov said.
Oblokulov was on the plane with his wife and three children along with two family members who live in Canada, according to a report from ABC13. The report said the family was in the midst of an annual trip to Canada at the time of the crash.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said Nov. 27 that the aircraft – which Oblokulov purchased from Sugar Land-based Anson Air, according to CBC News in Canada – was conducting a “visual flight-rules flight” from the Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport in Toronto. It had intended to land in Kingston as there were communications between the pilot and Kingston Flight Service Station just prior to the accident, according to TSA. On the afternoon of Nov. 27, however, TSA said the aircraft collided with terrain a few miles north of its intended destination, leaving no survivors.
Ortikov has helped create a GoFundMe page to help the family with memorial expenses. The page had received almost $37,000 in contributions as of publication.
Ortikov’s mission now, he said, is to honor Oblokulov and remember him as a family man and devoted community member willing to lend a hand to those in need.
Ortikov said he and Oblokulov stayed close despite living in different areas of Houston, usually getting in touch every couple of weeks.
“He was such a good guy in terms of how he treated people and lived his life. He was full of life, trying to do a lot of fun things that his kids and wife enjoyed,” Ortikov said. “He was always ready to help if you needed any. That’s how he’s going to be in my heart all the time.”
The GoFundMe page can be found at gofundme.com/f/otabek-oblokulov039s-family-condolence-fund.