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By | Christopher Williams 27th December 2007 11:47

Dotcom-era tycoon dies in Panama plane crash

'Whizz kid' and daughter killed on pleasure trip

Former eGroups CEO Michael Klein, his 13-year-old daughter and their pilot were killed when their light aircraft crashed in Panama. Francesca Lewis, a 12-year-old family friend was rescued yesterday after surviving more than two days on the side of a volcano.

According to reports Klein, 37, planned to photograph the crater of the Baru volcano, 285 miles west of Panama City. He had scheduled a 45-minute trip from the eco-resort he owned on Panama's Islas Secas.

Eyewitnesses reported the Cessna 172 flying low in strong winds. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot at about 12pm Sunday local time.

Michael Klein's body and that of his daughter Talia were found on Tuesday by a 17-strong rescue party. Roberto Velasquez, head of the Panamanian government civil protection agency, told reporters they found the plane "smashed to pieces", and that it is a "miracle" that anyone survived the impact.

Francesca Lewis is now recovering from hypothermia and a broken arm in a local hospital.

After graduating college at 17, Klein founded Transoft, a storage software firm that HP bought in 1999. He was later boss of eGroups when it was sold to Yahoo! for $430m in 2000, at the height of the dotcom boom.

More recently he operated his own hedge fund.

There's more on the story here. ®

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