Indiana family hoping father is alive after plane crash kills teen

Haris Suleman, 17, (right) with his father Babar Suleman before taking off on their around-the-world attempt.


PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) – Family and friends are holding out hope that an Indiana father will be found alive.

Babar Suleman, 58, was on the plane that crashed with his 17-year old son, Haris, who was trying to become the youngest person to fly around the world in 30 days. The pair were on their last leg of the trip when the plane crashed after taking off from Pago Pago in American Samoa.

The Sulemans took off for their journey around the world and were scheduled to return home Saturday.

On July 22, Haris tweeted, “Pago Pago is without a doubt top 5 places I’ve been this summer :)”

Haris and his father left Pago Pago International Airport Tuesday on their way home, but minutes into their flight, something went wrong.

“The first thing that runs through your mind is nothing is the matter, it’s fine. Not a problem,” Hiba Suleman said.

But Hiba said her worst fear came true Wednesday after calling her mother to learn something happened to her 17-year-old brother and father. At a press conference at the Islamic Community Center, Suleman explained how she learned that their plane had crashed.

“They took off around 9:50 last night, at night in Soma, and around 10:15, the air traffic controller say the lights of the plane go down,” she said.

Officials said the plane crashed off the coast of American Samoa. The American Samoa Marine Patrol recovered her brother’s body, but her father is still missing.

On June 7, the pair talked to WANE’s sister station WISH about their trip around the world.

Hiba said the family knew about the dangers. She said her father and brother even trained for the worst.

“They did prepare for the risk. They went to survival training, they took a course on how to survive an ocean landing or an ocean crash,” she said.

Hiba said words can’t describe how they feel about the loss of Haris.

“At some point you have to let it sink in,” she said.

But, they are holding on to hope and praying that Babar is found alive.

“We’re asking everybody; our community, friends, supporters, everyone to pray for his safe return,” she said.

17 year-old Haris was entering his senior year at Plainfield High School. He and his father were on a mission to better the lives of children in Pakistan.

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