Round-the-world teen pilot killed

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 10:25 24/07/2014
Baber and Haris Suleman

LOST: Baber and Haris Suleman before they set off on the flight.

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A teenager on a fundraising around-the-world-in-30-days tour has been killed and his father is missing after their plane crashed off American Samoa.

New Zealand search and rescue authorities were among several organisations to alert authorities to the crash of the Beechcraft Bonanza last night. The plane went into the sea shortly after taking off from Pago Pago.

Family in the United States have confirmed that the body of Haris Suleman, 17, had been recovered but his father, Baber Suleman, has yet to be found.

Pago Pago Marine Patrol searched through the night Samoa News reported.

"We found a young boy still strapped to his seat," Captain Tulele Laolagi said.

They found an emergency locator beacon nearby.

Laolagi said he received calls from Samoa, New Zealand and Honolulu's satellite systems that picked up the signal as soon as the emergency position-indicating radio beacon was activated.

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand said it picked up a beacon activation about 9pm (NZ time).

A local boat was sent to the site and it was understood the body of one person was located, with some wreckage found.

The centre said after discussion with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Honolulu, and given the incident was in a US territory, the incident was transferred to their control about 11pm.

The pair had flown to Pago Pago from New Caledonia and had just taken off for Kiritimati in Kiribati.

The aircraft issued no distress call.

Baber Suleman's daughter, Hiba Suleman, posted a Facebook message after the crash saying the plane had gone down.

"Haris has been found - he did not make it," she wrote.

"My father has not yet been found."

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