NewsLocal News / July 24, 2014

Family: Teen Pilot Who Crashed In Ocean Knew Risks

Associated Press
Family: Teen Pilot Who Crashed In Ocean Knew Risks

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says crews have found wreckage from an airplane piloted by an Indiana teenager who was killed when he crashed during an around-the-world flight.

Coast Guard spokesman Gene Maestas in Honolulu says portions of the single-engine plane's fuselage were recovered Wednesday night in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of American Samoa.

The body of 17-year-old Haris Suleman of Plainfield, Indiana, was recovered after his single-engine plane crashed Tuesday night shortly after taking off from Pago Pago in American Samoa. Crews were still searching for his father, 58-year-old Babar Suleman.

The duo had hoped to set the record for the fastest circumnavigation around the world in a single-engine airplane with the youngest pilot in command to do so. They also were raising money to help build schools in Pakistan.

Azher Khan, a family friend of the Sulemans, says 29-year-old Cyrus Suleman will visit a hospital Friday in the American Samoan capital city of Pago Pago where the body of his 17-year-old brother, Haris, was taken following Tuesday's crash in the Pacific Ocean near Pago Pago's airport.

Both Sulemans had undergone training for water emergencies and wore protective immersion suits over water. But experts note that young pilots have less experience handling emergencies.

Suleman's family says he knew the risks and had prepared for them.

The Sulemans left Indiana on June 19 and were expected to arrive back in the states Saturday.