Teen pilot dies in crash off Pago Pago en route to Honolulu

Haris Suleman, right, and his father, Babar Suleman (Family photo)

A 17-year-old pilot was killed when his single-engine plane went down in waters off Pago Pago in American Samoa Tuesday night.

Haris Suleman of Indiana was attempting to set a record for an around-the-world flight.

According to the Associated Press, Suleman was on his way to Honolulu when the plane went down.

The U.S. Coast Guard says it received word that a Beechcraft Bonanza with two passengers aboard crashed into the water at 9:55 p.m. Tuesday.

Family and friends comfort each other in Indiana.
Family and friends comfort each other in Indiana.

“The plane was found approximately one to two miles off the end of the runway,” said Cmdr. Charles Guerrero. “It was night time and the winds were out of the northeast at approximately 15 nautical miles per hour.”

“He was loved by everyone,” said Hiba Suleman, Haris’ sister. “To me, he always will remain my eight-year-old brother. I still have this image of him being eight years old. He was funnier than we gave him credit for, that’s for sure.”

Suleman’s father, 58-year-old Babar Suleman, was also on board. Coast Guard officials say crews are still searching for him.

“We continue to pray that they find Babar also,” said family friend Azher Khan. “Babar had informed me back in February that he wanted to go on this mission with his son, 17 years old, and would be the youngest pilot to go around the world, and it would be a record. It was for a noble cause.”

The two were expected to return Saturday.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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