PLAINFIELD, Ind. - The plane of an Indiana father-son team attempting to fly around the world has crashed after taking off from American Samoa.
Babar Suleman and his 17-year-old son Haris, of Plainfield, were attempting to fly around the world in 30 days. Haris would have been the youngest pilot in command to complete the journey.
The Citizens Foundation-USA confirmed Haris’ body was discovered, but officials have not been able to find Babar’s body as of Wednesday evening.
Although the pair did not complete the trip, they had already raised $500,000 for The Citizens Foundation-USA, which funds schools and education programs for underprivileged children in Pakistan.
Danial Noorani, the CEO and director of TCF-USA released the following statement:
"We’re all kind of devastated. He was such a beautiful young man, even his father was full of life. They were really having a good time. A father-son bonding trip. We were all following them and following their trip, and we were getting ready to greet them and celebrate them. It just knocked the wind out of us. I can’t imagine what their wife and daughter were going through."
Noorani said the pair was traveling from Fiji to Hawaii via American Samoa when the plane crashed Tuesday evening.
Haris' sister, Hiba Suleman, posted the following to her Facebook page:
"Haris and my dad's plane went down upon take off in American Samoa. Haris has been found- he did not make it. My father has not yet been found. Please pray that my dad is found alive and well. Also, hug your siblings and parents- tell them you love them, a hundred time. A thousand times. It will never feel like it's been said quite often enough."
Hiba said the trip had been a dream of her father's for years. She said both her father and brother had undergone training in how to handle an ocean landing.
Haris blogged about his experience on social media throughout their journey:
Start: Indianapolis, IN
Biggin Hill, England
Mursah Matruh, Egypt
Al Ain, UAE
Pago Pago, American Samoa
Christmis Island, Kiribati
An official with the Plainfield Community School Corporation released the following statement:
"Plainfield Community School Corporation is deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of our students. Seventeen-year-old Haris Suleman completed his junior year in May and left Plainfield only days later in an attempt to fly around the world with his father. Haris' adventurous spirit and huge heart led him to reaching for this personal goal while also seeking to raise funds and awareness for schools supported by The Citizens Foundation, a non-profit organization headquartered in Karachi, Pakistan.
The loss of Haris is a sobering tragedy for our school community. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Haris' family. We will provide information about memorial services and funeral arrangements once available."