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17 Year Old Attempts World Flight Record Is Killed In Plane Crash

July 24, 2014 - 17 year old Haris Suleman who had received his pilot’s license in June had dreamed of being placed in the Guinness Book of Records for setting a world record as the youngest pilot in command of a round the world flight in 30 days in a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza aircraft (N20TC). 

On June 19, the 17 year old American born Pakistani departed Plainfield, Indiana with his father, Babar Suleman who is also a pilot for the around the world journey. The two flew into Canada, Iceland, England, Greece, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates before reaching Pakistan. 


There last leg of the trip included Bangladesh, Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, American Samoa. However, before they could complete this leg that would have included Kiribati, Hawaii and California, in which they had intended to cover by July 20, the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed into the water on Tuesday night near Pago Pago International Airport, in American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the United States.

17 year old Haris Suleman, was recovered unresponsive by the American Samoa Marine Patrol however, 58 year old Babar Suleman body was not recovered. A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point searched the night for the 58 year old Babar Suleman.

The Suleman’s had hoped to raise money for the Citizen’s Foundation (TCF) to help educate Pakistan’s poor children. Babar Mohammad Suleman held a private pilots license with a multi engine and instrument ratings. He had been licensed for more then ten years. His son began flying with his father at age 8.



Hiba Suleman said of her brother and father "With a trip like this, there's always a risk, and they did prepare for that risk. You can plan all you want, but sometimes things just don't happen the way you planned." It was reported that before the trip the father and son took classes in how to survive an ocean landing. They packed a life raft with food and other supplies in case they had to bail out over water. They calculated their fuel needs and plotted their course, arranging stops in Europe, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific.

Update - July 27, 2014 – Coast Guard suspends active search for 58-year-old Babar Suleman. “The decision to suspend a search and rescue case is one of the most difficult decisions I have to make,” said Rear Admiral Cari Thomas, Commander, Fourteenth Coast Guard District.  

“I want to extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Sulemans. After conducting an exhaustive search with our partner agencies in American Samoa and crisscrossing more than 4,000 miles from the air and surface of the ocean and finding no sign of Mr. Suleman, I have made the decision to suspend the active search.” 

The Coast Guard active search consisted of an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Barbers Point, members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the American Samoa Marine Patrol, American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, and Tug Sa’ilele.

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