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Flight instructor, 23, killed after student's tragic mistake

A flight instructor who died after an aviation student made a devastating error during takeoff has been remembered as a “pure soul”.

Instructor Viktoria Theresie Izabelle Ljungman and two university students, both 18, were on board the plane on Thursday when it “dove” into a ditch next to the runway, killing the 23-year-old licensed commercial pilot, according to Virginia State Police.

When attempting to take off at the Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport in Newport News, Virginia, student pilot Oluwagbohunmi Ayomide Oyebode pulled the single-engine plane up “at too steep an angle”, a police spokesperson told the Daily Press.

Ms Ljungman, a flight instructor, standing in front of a plane and in the cockpit.
Ms Ljungman, a flight instructor, was killed on Thursday after the plane she was in stalled and dove into the ground. Source: Instagram

Because of this, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk stalled at about 30 metres in the air before nose-diving into the ground.

Ms Ljungman was pronounced dead at the scene, while Oyebode and the other 18-year-old were rushed to hospital with serious injuries, police said. Their current condition is unknown.

It’s understood both of the teens are in an aviation class at Hampton University, which has a partnership with Rick Aviation Flight School where Ms Ljungman worked as an instructor, the Daily Press reports.

The university said in a statement it is “aware of the unfortunate accident” but declined to comment further as the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

The crumpled plane at the crash scene in Virginia.
Police claim an 18-year-old aviation student made a fatal error during takeoff. Source: Erin Miller/WTKR/Virginia State Police

Flight instructor remembered as 'pure soul'

Ms Ljungman, from Sweden, attended the same university on a tennis scholarship before following her passion for aviation.

The 23-year-old documented her journey to becoming a pilot on Instagram, attracting more than 17,000 followers with images of the incredible views she witnessed on her trips around the US.

In her last post, Ms Ljungman, who hoped to one day work for an airline, can be seen sitting in the passenger seat with what appears to be a student piloting the plane.

Ms Ljungman piloting a plane and sitting in the passenger seat next to what appears to be a student.
In her last post (right), Ms Ljungman can be seen sitting in the passenger seat with what appears to be a student piloting the plane. Source: Instagram

Being a commercial pilot was all Ms Ljungman ever wanted to do, friend Charlie Hudson told the Daily Press.

“I don’t remember her ever not smiling,” he said.

“She was just contagious in her energy, just lovely to be around.

“She was just ... such a pure soul that she seemed so innocent.”

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