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Family: Teen pilot who crashed in ocean knew risks


Robert Scheer / The Indianapolis Star / AP

In this Thursday, June 19, 2014, photo, Babar Suleman and son Haris Suleman, 17, stand next to their plane at an airport in Greenwood, Ind., before taking off for an around-the-world flight.

Updated Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 11:35 p.m.

PLAINFIELD, Ind. — The family of an Indiana teenager who crashed in the Pacific Ocean during an around-the-world flight says he knew the risks and had prepared for them.

The body of 17-year-old Haris Suleman of Plainfield, Indiana, was recovered after his single-engine plane crashed Tuesday night shortly after taking off from Pago Pago in American Samoa. Crews were still searching for his father, 58-year-old Babar Suleman.

The duo had hoped to set the record for the fastest circumnavigation around the world in a single-engine airplane with the youngest pilot in command to do so. They also were raising money to help build schools in Pakistan.

Both Sulemans had undergone training for water emergencies and wore protective immersion suits over water. But experts note that young pilots have less experience handling emergencies.

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