Crash kills Pak-American teen pilot attempting world record
New York: A 17-year-old Pakistani-origin boy, attempting to set a world record for an around-the-globe flight has died in a tragic crash over the Pacific Ocean while efforts are on to locate his father.
Haris Suleman was piloting a single-engine aircraft under the watchful eye of his father Babar Suleman to try to set a world record and raise money to build schools in Pakistan.
Their Beechcraft A36 Bonanza aircraft crashed on Tuesday, just 20 minutes after taking off from American Samoa island en route to Hawaii, Haris` sister, 26-year-old Hiba Suleman, said last night.
"They were together and doing what they loved," she said.
The Sulemans left Greenwood, Indiana on June 19. Haris was hoping to complete the trip in 30 days to set the record for the fastest circumnavigation around the world in a single -engine airplane by the youngest pilot.
The family was notified of the crash by the US Coast Guard, Hiba said. At that point, the Coast Guard had searched about six hours, found Haris but was still looking for her father, she was quoted as saying by Indianapolis Star newspaper.
They were about 37 kilometres off the coast of American Samoa when radar indicated the plane had gone down, she said.
"It is a tragedy of immense proportions," Khan said. "We are all still hopeful that we will have Babar come back."
The duo were expected to return to Indiana on Saturday. Their stops included the UK, Egypt and Pakistan.
The US National Transportation Safety Board said that officials were investigating the accident. The cause of the crash is not yet known, the report said.
But Khan said the plane`s "black box" was pinging, allowing searchers to home in on it.
The Sulemans have raised more than USD 500,000 for The Citizens Foundation.
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