A single-engine Cessna with the tail number N761YZ crashed in a heavily wooded area in southern Indiana. Credit: Via Indiana State Police

This story was updated at 5:25 p.m. Dec. 19.

A medical professor at a Bethesda university, his daughter and his friend died Saturday in a small plane crash in southern Indiana, according to the school.

Dr. Louis R. Cantilena Jr. was flying in a single-engine Cessna from Kansas City, Missouri, to Frederick with his daughter, Amy Cantilena, and friend Paul F. Schuda when the plane crashed in a heavily wooded area in Franklin County, Indiana.

Cantilena was in Kansas City picking up his daughter, who was an M.D. and Ph.D. student, from medical school, said Sharon Holland, the deputy vice president for external affairs at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where Cantilena taught.

Cantilena was a professor of medicine and pharmacology at the school, which is a federal health science university on Jones Bridge Road. Holland said he was known as an international expert in clinical pharmacology and toxicology and took care of patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“He was extremely well respected, very well liked and admired,” she said. “And he will be greatly missed by everyone here at the university.”


Schuda was director of the National Transportation Safety Board Training Center at Ashburn, Virginia, according to the Civil Air Patrol. He formerly worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Policy and Special Projects and as a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Both Schuda and Cantilena were members of the Civil Air Patrol.

The Civil Air Patrol reported that Louis Cantilena owned the plane and was flying it at the time of the crash.

Indiana State Police officially released the victims’ identities, ages and hometowns on Tuesday afternoon on Twitter. They said Louis Cantilena, the pilot, was 63 years old and lived in Potomac. Schuda, 65, lived in Arlington, Virginia. Amy Cantilena was 31 and also from Potomac.


A dog also was killed in the crash, according to Indiana State Police. Another dog survived the crash and was found at a nearby residence.