US teen pilot dies during attempt to fly around the world in 30 days

Haris Suleman and his father crashed into the Pacific Ocean after taking off from American Samoa

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The Independent US

A 17-year-old American attempting to fly around the world in 30 days has been found dead after his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Haris Suleman, from Planefield, Indiana, was travelling with his father Babar Suleman, who is still missing after the plane went down after taking off from American Samoa.

The teenager's sister Hiba Suleman said on Facebook that she was waiting to hear if her father had survived the crash.

“Before the news breaks, I'd like to thank everyone for their support of my father and brother throughout this trip, as well as for the support given to my mom, brother and myself as we waited for their safe return,” she wrote.

“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 times. A thousand times. It will never feel like it's been said quite often enough.“

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told the Associated Press that the single-engine Hawker Beechcraft plane crashed into the ocean on Tuesday night in unknown circumstances.

US Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Melissa McKenzie said witnesses reported seeing the Hawaii-bound plane crash about a mile from shore shortly after taking off from Pago Pago International Airport.

Haris and Babar Suleman left Indiana on 19 June and had missed their 30-day target, which would have been a record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world in a single-engine airplane with the youngest pilot in command.

Haris had been flying with his father since he was 8 and had recently acquired his pilot's license and instrument rating, which authorized him to fly an aircraft over oceans.

The trip was raising money for the Citizens Foundation, a non-profit company that builds schools in Pakistan.