The body of an Indiana teenage pilot attempting to fly around the world with his father was found off the coast of American Samoa after their single-engine plane crashed in the South Pacific Tuesday night, Coast Guard officials and family said Wednesday. Haris Suleman, 17, was found unresponsive by the American Samoa Marine Patrol, while his father, Babar Suleman, remained missing, officials said. The father and son had left Pago Pago, American Samoa, and were headed for Hawaii, where they were expected to stay a couple of days before leaving for California, family and friends said. They planned to arrive in California on Friday before flying home to Indiana.
Haris Suleman, who just earned his pilot's license in June, was aiming to become the youngest pilot in command to circumnavigate the globe in 30 days with just one other person on board. He was also trying to raise money to build schools in his father’s native Pakistan. The Sulemans left Indianapolis on June 19, and were nearing the final leg of their trip. The pair spoke with NBC News prior to their journey. The elder Suleman, who began flying in 2001, said he and his son had taken survival courses and planned for potential dangers. "He’s at the age where there's no fear of the unknown," Babar said.
"The Coast Guard would like to express our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the Sulemans," said Michael Cobb, command duty officer at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu, on Wednesday evening. "We will continue to do our best to locate Mr. Babar Suleman."
— Erik Ortiz
First published July 23 2014, 1:00 PM