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La Jolla Family Injured in Jet Hijacking

September 06, 1986|ERIC BAILEY | Times Staff Writer

A La Jolla book publisher and his family returning from a visit with relatives were among those wounded when the ill-fated Pan Am jetliner was seized by Arab hijackers in Pakistan.

Sadanand Singh was shot and his two children suffered shrapnel wounds from a grenade explosion, according to a family friend who was notified by the State Department.

Singh's wife, Kala, 35, suffered injuries of an unknown nature, said Linton Vandiver, a business associate and longtime family friend.

Vandiver said U.S. officials indicated Singh, 51; daughter Kolpena, 13, and son Samir, 8, apparently were not seriously wounded in the hijacking ordeal. Vandiver said the family is expected to be released from a Karachi hospital this weekend.

But Vandiver said he will not be fully satisfied until he hears news directly from the family. "There was a considerable period of time where I had feared for the worst. Now I feel relief, but sadness that this has happened to them."

Singh operates College Hill Press in San Diego, described by Vandiver as a leading publisher of books and software for professionals dealing with speech, hearing and language disorders.

The family left in early July to visit relatives in Nepal and India, in particular Singh's elderly father, Vandiver said. Although the Singhs had planned to spend several weeks in Europe during the second half of the vacation, they decided to remain in India when Singh's father became ill.

Although he had heard news of the hijacking early Friday morning, Vandiver did not "put two and two together" until he called a relative of the Singhs on the East Coast and learned that the family was aboard the Pan Am flight.

State Department personnel, apparently given Vandiver's name by Kala Singh, called the family friend about 3 p.m. Friday to break the news. Vandiver spent the next hours calling friends and relatives of the family.

Vandiver described the Singhs as "an acknowledged power" in the field of speech and hearing in the United States.

With his wife, Singh founded College Hill Press about eight years ago, Vandiver said. The company was recently purchased by Little, Brown Inc., a subsidiary of Time-Life Inc., but Singh has remained at the helm.

Singh, who has two doctorates, has served as a professor at three U.S. universities, most recently at San Diego State University, and is a fellow with the American Speech, Hearing and Language Assn., Vandiver said.

The couple, both natives of India, met at Ohio State University, where Singh was on a fellowship studying for a doctorate and Kala was getting a master's degree, he said.

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