Search continues for father in plane crash off American Samoa

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

The U.S. Coast Guard and local agencies continue to search for a man who went missing during a plane crash approximately one mile from Pago Pago Tuesday night.

Search efforts for 58-year-old Babar Suleman of Indiana resumed Friday morning and will continue throughout the day.

Suleman disappeared when a plane piloted by his 17-year-old son, Haris, went down shortly after takeoff.

The crash occurred at approximately 9:55 p.m. Tuesday as the two headed to Honolulu.

Haris Suleman died in the crash. He had been attempting to set a record for an around-the-world flight.

The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu is currently coordinating search efforts with the HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point, the American Samoa Marine Patrol, American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel and good Samaritan Tug Lillie.

American Samoa is currently under small craft and high surf advisories. Weather conditions will continue to be closely monitored.

Debris recovered from the crash includes: two survival suits, life jackets, Emergency Locator Transmitter, a seat, and heavily damaged sections of the fuselage.

A self-locating data marker buoy is being used to calculate current drift, water temperature and sea conditions to better ascertain the optimal search area.

The total amount of area searched and hours expended are:

  • 3,396 square miles (1,799 square miles Friday, 1,597 square miles Thursday). The cumulative amount of square miles searched is equivalent to the area of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
  • Coast Guard and partner agency assets have been searching for a total of 63 hours.

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