Coast Guard: Wreckage of teen pilot’s plane found

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AAA Jul. 24, 2014 4:13 PM ET
Coast Guard: Wreckage of teen pilot’s plane found
AP

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. Haris Suleman, 17, who was attempting to set a record for an around-the-world flight, was killed when his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, and crews were searching Wednesday, July 23, 2014, for his father, who was also on board. Family spokeswoman Annie Hayat said the plane flown by Haris Suleman went down shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa Tuesday night. Hayat said the body of Haris Suleman had been recovered, but crews were still looking for Babar Suleman. The father and son were using the trip to raise money for the Citizens Foundation, a nonprofit that builds schools in Pakistan. (AP Photo/Citizens Foundation)

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. Haris Suleman, 17, who was attempting to set a record for an around-the-world flight, was killed when his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, and crews were searching Wednesday, July 23, 2014, for his father, who was also on board. Family spokeswoman Annie Hayat said the plane flown by Haris Suleman went down shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa Tuesday night. Hayat said the body of Haris Suleman had been recovered, but crews were still looking for Babar Suleman. The father and son were using the trip to raise money for the Citizens Foundation, a nonprofit that builds schools in Pakistan. (AP Photo/Citizens Foundation)

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. On Wednesday, July 23, 2014, a single-engine plane with two aboard crashed in waters off American Samoa, with a registration number matching the plane flown by the Indiana teen attempting to fly around the world in 30 days. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Robert Scheer)

In this June 19, 2014, photo, Babar Suleman gets a hug from his wife, Shamim Babar, before he and his son Haris Suleman, 17, headed out from Greenwood, Ind., on the first leg of an around-the-world flight that they were hoping would take 30 days. A U.S. teenager who was attempting to set a record for an around-the-world flight has died in a crash over the Pacific Ocean, a family spokeswoman said Wednesday, July 23. Annie Hayat said the plane flown by Haris Suleman went down shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa on Tuesday night. Suleman and his father were on board. Hayat said the body of Haris Suleman had been recovered, but crews were still looking for his father. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Robert Scheer)

Map shows Indiana teen pilot’s flown and planned routes; 5c x 3 1/2 inches; 245.5 mm x 88 mm;

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. Haris Suleman, 17, who was attempting to set a record for an around-the-world flight, was killed when his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, and crews were searching Wednesday, July 23, 2014, for his father, who was also on board. Family spokeswoman Annie Hayat said the plane flown by Haris Suleman went down shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa Tuesday night. Hayat said the body of Haris Suleman had been recovered, but crews were still looking for Babar Suleman. The father and son were using the trip to raise money for the Citizens Foundation, a nonprofit that builds schools in Pakistan. (AP Photo/Citizens Foundation)

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PLAINFIELD, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has found wreckage from an airplane piloted by a teenager who was killed when he crashed during an around-the-world flight, a Coast Guard spokesman said Thursday.

A C-130 pilot spotted sections of the plane’s fuselage and other aircraft components Wednesday night in a remote section of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of American Samoa, spokesman Gene Maestas in Honolulu said, and ships later recovered some of that debris.

The body of 17-year-old Haris Suleman was found shortly after Tuesday’s crash. Crews are still searching for 58-year-old Babar Suleman, who was traveling with his son on his around-the-world flight, Maestas said. That search is still considered an active search and rescue case, he said.

Family spokeswoman Annie Hayat said Thursday the Suleman family “keeps asking for prayers for the safe return of Babar Suleman.”

Haris Suleman had hoped to set the record for the fastest circumnavigation around the world in a single-engine airplane with the youngest pilot in command. His journey was also a fundraiser to help build schools in his father’s native Pakistan.

The Sulemans, who lived in suburban Indianapolis, left on June 19 and were expected to arrive back in the U.S. on Saturday.

Maestas said a Coast Guard plane was looking for additional debris and for Babar Suleman on Thursday, and was working with two ships. He said the search area was originally about a mile off the coast of American Samoa but has since expanded.

“The debris is scattering because of wind and currents so the search area is widening a little bit,” he said. “There’s a number of small islands, very small islands, in this area, but it’s very remote.”

As plans for welcome-home celebrations shifted to mourning, family and friends defended the father-son team and their mission, saying

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