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Funeral Services for 2 Pan Am Hijack Victims Set for Sunday

Times Staff Writer

The bodies of Rajesh Kumar of Huntington Beach, the first victim of terrorists who took over a Pan Am jetliner in Pakistan last week, and his 80-year-old grandmother were brought Thursday to Southern California, a family spokesman said.

Satish Kumar Patel of Huntington Beach said a traditional Hindu funeral ceremony would be held at 1 p.m. Sunday in Westminster Memorial Cemetery for his 29-year-old brother and his grandmother, Kuverben Patel. Representatives of the U.S. government and Pan American World Airways, as well as local officials, are expected to attend.

The bodies arrived early Thursday on a Pan Am flight to Los Angeles International Airport.

Press reports from Karachi said Kumar, a newly naturalized U.S. citizen carrying his first American passport, was shot and thrown out of the jetliner during the early hours of the Sept. 5 hijacking. He was taken to Jinnah Hospital, where he died during surgery.

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Kumar was returning from Bombay, India, to bring his grandmother and aunt back with him for their first visit to the United States. It was the first time Kuverben Patel had ventured from her native village of Surat, near Bombay.

She was one of 17 other passengers killed when four terrorists began shooting after the lights went out aboard the Boeing 747. More than 120 passengers were injured.

Her daughter, 45-year-old Gangaben Patel, escaped and was returned safely to Surat. Satish Patel said Thursday that his aunt expected to make the long journey to California for the funeral.


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