Ground crew member warned pilot’s father of winds

In a photo provided by Citizens Foundation, Haris Suleman, center right, in blue shirt, and his father, Babar Suleman, center left, stand with the plane in early July 2014 in Pakistan that they were flying on an around-the-world trip. (AP Photo/Citizens Foundation)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Federal investigators say a ground crewman warned the father of a central Indiana teenager who died when the airplane he was piloting crashed into the Pacific Ocean that winds had been gusty and strong all day and evening.

Seventeen-year-old Haris Suleman of Plainfield was killed in the July 22 plane crash off the coast of American Samoa during an around-the-world attempt. His father and co-pilot, 58-year-old Babar Suleman, remains missing.

A preliminary report issued Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board said Babar Suleman told the unidentified ground crewman during preflight checks the weather seemed fine. That’s when the crewman told him about the winds.

The crewman says as the plane took off the wind was “very strong” and the plane moved up and down and side to side.

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