World & Nation

Indiana father, son trying to fly around world crash in American Samoa

Babar and Haris Suleman
Babar Suleman, 58, and his son Haris Suleman, 17, stand next to their plane in Greenwood, Ind., on June 19 before taking off for their around-the-world flight.
(Robert Scheer / Associated Press)

A father-son pair from Indiana who were trying to fly around the world in 30 days crashed near an airport in American Samoa on Tuesday night, according to Coast Guard officials and the Associated Press.

A spokeswoman for the family of Babar and Haris Suleman told the Associated Press that the two men -- who took off from Indiana last month in the hopes that Haris Suleman, 17, would be the youngest man in history to make the trip -- were on board the plane.

Gene Maestas, a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard, told the Los Angeles Times that Haris Suleman’s body was recovered by the American Samoa Marine Patrol. Divers are still searching for his father, 58-year-old Babar Suleman, according to Maestas.

Maestas said Haris Suleman was “unresponsive,” but would not confirm his death.


The father and son from Plainfield, Ind., took flight on June 21, hoping to make a 25,000-mile trek that would include stops in London, Istanbul and California, according to a news release from the Citizens Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds education programs for Pakistani children.

Haris, a high school junior, has been flying with his father for a number of years and was supposed to be piloting the plane, according to the foundation’s release. A spokesperson for the group did not respond to a request for comment from The Times.

A single-engine Beechcraft BE36, the same plane the Sulemans were flying, crashed into the ocean near Pago Pago International Airport in American Samoa around 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to Maestas.

The plane crashed roughly one mile from the airport, according to Maestas, who said it was unclear if the plane took off or not. The plane did not make any distress calls to the airport tower, he said.


“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Suleman family,” Maestas said.

Last month, Haris Suleman said he was “awestruck” by the potential record-breaking flight.

“First of all I’m flying, then I’m traveling, and then I’m seeing all these places and meeting all these people at the same time,” he said. “I can’t imagine something better to do with my summer.”

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT on Twitter for breaking news.

Get our Today's Headlines newsletter