Teen pilot who crashed in ocean knew risks

Published 9:37 am Thursday, July 24, 2014

PLAINFIELD, Ind. — The family of an Indiana teenager who crashed in the Pacific Ocean during an around-the-world flight says he knew the risks and had prepared for them.

The body of 17-year-old Haris Suleman of Plainfield, Ind., 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.

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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.