An Indiana community mourned a teenage pilot who was killed while attempting to fly around the world with his father by his side. The small airplane Haris Suleman, 17, was piloting crashed near Pago Pago, in American Samoa, last week. His body was found the next day; search teams were unable to find his dad, Babar Suleman, 58.
"He was like a brother to me," Osman Malik, Haris' friend and next door neighbor, said at the memorial, which was held at the Islamic Center in Plainfield, where the Sulemans lived. "One day we will all see him in paradise. Great kid, great heart."
Haris wanted to be the youngest pilot to fly around the world in a single-engine plane. He turned his effort into a fundraiser to help build schools in Pakistan, where his father is from. Before his funeral, the head of the Indianapolis chapter of the group whose work the Sulemans were promoting remembered Haris' "wonderful attitude toward life."
"He wanted to give back to the kids who had nothing in Pakistan. How many 17-year olds have a passion like that?" said Azher Khan, president of Seeds of Learning.
Nabeel Raazi, a family friend, said Haris' relatives are holding up as well as can be expected.
"I have not heard a single word of regret. They believed in the mission they were doing."
—Rick Brown and Elizabeth Chuck
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