Plane of Pakistani father-son duo flying around the world crashes into the Pacific

Published: July 24, 2014
Haris Suleman's body has been recovered. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

Haris Suleman's body has been recovered. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

The plane of father-son duo attempting to fly around the world in 30 days, crashed into the Pacific near the American Samoa Islands, Express News reported.

The father-son duo of Babar Suleman and Haris Suleman were flying from American Samoa Island to Hawaii in their Hawker Beechcraft Bonanza when their plane crashed shortly after taking off from Pago Pago International Airport.

Hiba Suleman, Haris’s sister, confirmed on her Facebook account that the body of her brother had been recovered, while rescue teams are still searching for her father.

Haris’s uncle Air Vice Marshal (retd) Abid Rao confirmed to The Express Tribune that the plane, a single engine Beechcraft Bonanza, crashed near Pago Pago Island when the father son duo had left it for Hawaii. “We are very sad. It was the last leg of their trip, a journey of 13-14 hours. But their plane crashed within two minutes after they took off.” He said that the incident took place between 6 to 6:30 pm PST.

He said that the body recovered was that of Haris but that of Babar and the plane wreckage has yet to be found.

Last known location of the plane. PHOTO:

Mian Washim, a Pakistani-American businessman and a close family friend of the Suleman family told The Express Tribune that “there was no indication as to why the crash happened except that the crash site was about one mile from the end of the runway and out to sea.”

“It is very unlikely they had reached an altitude that enabled them to contact the Air Traffic Control in Samoa,” said Washim.

“The area [where plane crashed] is in the New Zealand SAR region and it was New Zealand SAR that received a distress signal from the aircraft. The timing of the signal (possibly a satellite ping) put it very close to the crash site when transmitted.

“Haris’s body was found soon after the arrival of the rescue boat sent from the island’s Fire and Crash service. There was an active locator beacon working but no information as to whether it was attached to Haris’s life jacket or not.

There is no information as to the condition or status of the aircraft.”

Since a large portion of their trip was to take place over water, their plane had been stocked with relief equipment life rafts, and “gumby” suits for ocean survival in the event of an ocean landing.

Gumby suits are only worn by the pilots while flying over water for extended periods of time.

This, however, seems to not have provided them protection from a crash.

On the home stretch, the father and son duo had not found any fuel in Kiritimati and had flown from New Caledonia to Pago Pago where they had topped up with fuel for the 17 hour flight to Honolulu.

This was the last tweet from Haris’ account.

Crash to be investigated

National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Terry Williams told The Express Tribune that they will be investigating the unfortunate crash.

“We confirm the plane crashed.”

Williams, however, said the cause of the Beechcraft Bonanza crashing had yet to be ascertained by investigators. He did not share any further details.

A journey for education

Seventeen year old Haris was the youngest Pilot in Command to attempt circumnavigating the world in a single engine plane. But the trip served a greater purpose.

They started in Indiana, US, taking off on June 19. Their goal was education for underprivileged children and aimed at raising funds for The Citizens Foundation.

The trip stretched over five continents, a journey across three oceans, and landings in 15 countries – Suleman touched down in Reykjavik, Crete, Aswan (Egypt), Nagpur (India), Bali, Nadi (Fiji), Pago Pago (American Samoa). Kiribati (Christmas Island), Kona (Hawaii), were amongst the cities he would have landed in before reaching the American mainland, but for the crash.

His Pakistan leg of the journey included stops in Lahore, Sargodha and Islamabad.



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Reader Comments (75)

  • Malik
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:30AM

    May God bless their souls and accept their good deeds. I saw a video of the young boy and his dad. They were great Pakistani Americans full of love for their mother country.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:32AM

    Very sad. God have mercy on them.


  • SRahman
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:41AM

    Inna Lillahe Wainna Alaihe Rajeon


  • Nasreen
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:43AM

    Inna lila hai wa inna illahai rajioon

    Totally heartbreaking! They were on their way home!! May the family find sabr during such a difficult time.


  • Imran Qadri
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:54AM

    May Allah bless them both.


  • Hammad Qureshi
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:11AM

    my deepest condolences for the family… they died for a cause, but they must’ve inspired thousands and given hope to thousands along the way.

    i would however like to mention that experts on the subject should have warned them of such a threat due to the limitations of the aircraft they were using for the purpose.


  • Israr
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:12AM

    Extremely sad news. Must be a very distressing time for the family. My thoughts are with them and I hope they can pull through the tragedy with courage. Another sad aspect of this tragedy for me is the fact I wouldn’t have known of this rare adventure by a couple of Pakistanis had it not been for their accident.


  • Saad
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:13AM

    So sad to hear, RIP


  • ak
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:32AM

    RIP really tragic


  • fauziah
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:34AM

    What a waste of two lives. I have flying phobia and when i had first read about this i was like now why would a father risk his young sons life over a stupid adventure. I dont care about in what twisted way it was for a good cause. I am really upset.


  • FS
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:38AM

    This is sad news. May their souls rest in peace


  • Shajeel Zaidi
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:46AM

    So, so sad.


  • Mustapha
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:48AM

    really sad…


  • Moiz Omar
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:52AM

    Extremely tragic. Rest in peace.Recommend

  • optimist
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:53AM

    Rest in peace Beautiful boy… It is sad to lose such a good hearted person :(


  • RHS
    Jul 24, 2014 - 1:56AM

    Inna Lillah Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’oun (Al-Baqara – 2:156)
    Truly we belong to Allah and truly to Him shall we return

    A very big tragedy, especially since they were trying to do something positive…..


  • Jul 24, 2014 - 1:58AM

    sorry to hear that; RIP; I am not sure why did not chose pakistan his stop; Lesson learned never fly old planes when your flying around world!!


  • Jul 24, 2014 - 2:02AM

    Very tragic, indeed. Haris and his father were on round the world trip to raise funds for education. RIP.


  • LuvPak
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:02AM

    Very very sad news for the loved ones, the TCF foundation and the well wishers. Very sad for the loss-of-life of a very young pilot. Only an investigation will reveal the true circumstances the fatefull journey ended in. May Allah give patience to the family members at this sad moment. mfk, Michigan, USA.


  • Saad Salman Zia
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:10AM

    Sad news…They had almost done it


  • Zog
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:14AM

    How very sad…

    We salute you for your great efforts…


  • Ayesha Pervez
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:17AM

    I just saw them on TV a few days ago !!! … this is such sad news :((((((( Innalilahe wa inna ilahe raajiuun


  • Yasir Hasan
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:26AM

    very sad and heart breaking news.. may the deceased soul rest in peace… Wishing for the survival of the father….Recommend

  • Asif
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:27AM

    I am so sad on their tragic crash just when they were on their last leg, May Allah accepts their good deeds, Allah we belong Allah we return to.


  • jk
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:32AM

    It is a sad news,perhaps a very tragic incident especially while it was the last leg of their journey and their life jackets could not save them.May their souls rest in peace.


  • Adnan Iqbal
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:34AM

    May God bless their souls & give courage to their family to go through this difficult time..


  • Matloob Hassan
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:47AM

    Very sad. May their souls rest in peace. They started this trip on a noble cause which will still be remembered even thiugh they could not complete the journey.


  • Hamza
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:47AM

    Very sad day indeed! May Allah grant strength to the family in this difficult timeRecommend

  • Jibran
    Jul 24, 2014 - 3:50AM

    Salute the courage!


  • Omer
    Jul 24, 2014 - 4:04AM

    May both the souls rest in peace.


  • taimoor
    Jul 24, 2014 - 4:07AM

    very very sad news!Recommend

  • Mudassir Haq
    Jul 24, 2014 - 4:13AM

    Shocking News, i heard about their trip just a few days back. And it’s so sad to hear that their plane crashed in the last stages of the trip. May their souls rest in peace.


  • Bibi
    Jul 24, 2014 - 4:41AM

    Sad! Mission gone wrong. But then a single engine plane can achieve only that much. RIP dear, it was a brave attempt on your part.


  • Naeem Khan Manhattan,Ks
    Jul 24, 2014 - 4:43AM

    May God rest their souls in peace. Too young to die, brave kid.


  • K Khan
    Jul 24, 2014 - 5:03AM

    I deeply sympathize with the family of the tragic victims. But what are personal lessons learnt? Surely others should abstain. Technically, the weight of fuel possibly was too much. RIP


  • suleman tareen
    Jul 24, 2014 - 5:24AM

    sad news May Allah rest their souls in peace and grant saber to the rest of their family in this hard time.


  • Jul 24, 2014 - 5:25AM

    Very sad news. We were hoping for their safe journey. God bless them. RIP.


  • Imran Khan
    Jul 24, 2014 - 6:45AM

    The plane was too heavy to fly
    Innal lil lahi wa innalli Lahae raje oonn


  • Humayun
    Jul 24, 2014 - 7:35AM

    It is so sad to read this news. May Almighty Allah rest their soul in peace and give courage to their family to bear this irreparable loss. Aameen !


  • Malik Abbas
    Jul 24, 2014 - 7:42AM

    Inna lillah hi wa inna elehi rajioun. Every thing is from God Almighty. They gone famous due to this trip.& the time was fixed but who knows……May God bless them and their souls rest in peace.


  • Anon
    Jul 24, 2014 - 8:24AM

    Really really sad news. May their souls R.I.P.


  • Fayyaz
    Jul 24, 2014 - 8:28AM

    I am totally shocked!


  • Pakland
    Jul 24, 2014 - 8:35AM

    So many things can go wrong due to weather or plane fatigue in such a long journey that I would never take my son on any adventure like this, ever. For curious readers: Check YouTube “Plane crash investigation” reports by NTSB.

    A famous old time lady pilot; Amelia Earhart lost her plane in the same area, several decades ago, accompanied with flying experts. No traces of her or the plane were ever found to this day.


  • faraz
    Jul 24, 2014 - 8:49AM

    very sad and heart breaking news.. may the deceased soul rest in peace… Wishing for the survival of the father….


  • Kamran Khan
    Jul 24, 2014 - 9:01AM

    RIP Suleman Sr and Jr, May your souls rest in peace .Ameen


  • Imran Ahmed
    Jul 24, 2014 - 9:07AM

    Everything and everyone dies. To die doing something extraordinary while doing good for others is a fortunate death given to few.


  • Irshad Jan
    Jul 24, 2014 - 9:51AM

    Very sad to learn about the sad demise of father/son who were on a noble cause. A very brave duo indeed. May God rest their souls in peace. Ameen.


  • Irshad Jan
    Jul 24, 2014 - 9:55AM

    A brave duo lost in this mishap. Very sad indeed. May Allah rest their souls in peace. Ameen.


  • umair
    Jul 24, 2014 - 10:02AM

    They were promoting education for poor people they were doing jihad thus they are shaheeds all my respect to them..


  • Ibraheem
    Jul 24, 2014 - 10:19AM

    Very sad news, Inna Nilahe Wa Inna Alai Rajay Oon. They were doing something very positive for Pakistan, supporting TCF and education of poor Pakistanis. May this act of kindness be their biggest blessing in the here after. It is also an honor to help fellow human beings, and Allah (SWT) loves the people that help other unfortunate people, also their departure in Holy Month of Ramadan, is also in itself a sign of blessing and forgiveness from Allah (SWT), as the last Ashra of Ramadan is very special. I was following their journey on the website which was updated regularly by Mr. Babar Suleiman, a very well written blog. I hope does not sensor the address, if I post it here, to show the wonderful work that was being carried on by this amazing Father/Son team. This is the website, maybe it will inspire More Pakistanis to do something for the poor Pakistanis and their last act of kindness and care for the fellow human beings will live on. Please visit, to see the blogs by Mr. Babar Suleiman, May his and son’s soul rest in peace.


  • Jul 24, 2014 - 10:29AM

    I offer my deepest condolences for the grief struck family. May their souls reast in peace. AmeenRecommend

  • homolise
    Jul 24, 2014 - 10:32AM

    this plane was downed intentionally as USA was scared they would break records. The world is controlled by USA.


  • Faizan Minhas
    Jul 24, 2014 - 10:56AM

    It was their destiny to die like this, no words can compensate the loss of the family.. May their souls rest in peace. I believe we should respect the noble cause for which they lost their lives.


  • Shahid
    Jul 24, 2014 - 10:57AM

    Its heart breaking and I sorry for rest of family. Unfortunately however it also looks as a selfish pursuit for chance of a record. Otherwise the 17 year old would not have been in command. To generate excitement and revenue for this journey and the charitable side of it was that (17 year old pilot) necessary? May be yes but then not much can be expected from a 17 year old in terms of experience when facing unknown weather or other phenomenon during flight. If the father was indeed in charge then a young and unfulfilled life has been wasted regardless, again at the alter of ambition.


  • ZF
    Jul 24, 2014 - 11:12AM

    RIP: Inna Lillahe Wainna Alaihe Rajeon


  • Xenia
    Jul 24, 2014 - 11:26AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:


  • mehtaab
    Jul 24, 2014 - 11:47AM

    For crying out loud, so many people die every day, around 500 have been killed by Israel and you guys are weeping over the death of one Pakistani.


  • AY
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:05PM

    The fate took their last flight to final destination. May their soul RIP


  • narinder singh
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:20PM

    very sad news


  • Mira
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:58PM

    @fauziah: Statistically, every single time you get into a car and onto a road, you are far more at risk of losing your life than when you get on a plane. Plane crashes are so shocking precisely because they are so rare, certainly in comparison to fatal car crashes. Of course this is extremely upsetting, and indeed a tragedy. But please don’t dismiss the father-son duo’s noble intention based on a phobia. They were generous souls. May they rest in peace.


  • Irfan butt
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:39PM

    Feel very HAPPY to hear the GOOD news.because his journey in 30 days around the world is not complete.Recommend

  • Analyst
    Jul 24, 2014 - 3:11PM

    On the last leg of the tour around the world?? How sad is that !!
    Could it be a conspiracy to prevent the Muslim father-son team from setting a record of sorts? What do you Pakistanis think?


  • Imran
    Jul 24, 2014 - 8:10PM


    Being a member of their family, I can assure you that your insensitive comment is the last thing we wish to read at the moment. Having no knowledge of the cause of the crash, i don’t think you have any right to question Haris’s and Baber Uncle’s passion and twist it in another direction.

    All we want from you guys is to pray for the miraculous return of Baber uncle.


  • Faraz
    Jul 24, 2014 - 8:18PM

    They were up for a noble cause. God bless them


  • Adnan Iqbal
    Jul 25, 2014 - 1:01AM

    Our prayers are with you & rest of the family bro.. I pray to God for Mr. Baber’s safe return.. May Allah protect us & our loved ones from all incidents & hardship.. Ameen


  • Nasreen
    Jul 25, 2014 - 7:40AM


    As an “analyst” you surely lack common sense. You can’t seem to decipher when & where is it an appropriate time or place to say certain things. Your comment is in poor taste, it lacks class & dignity, which is a true reflection of your character. Some forums/topics are just sacred. You must have a pretty sad existence if you chose THIS topic to leave your tasteless comment on. Perhaps you could not figure out from the +60 other comments here, that this is a place for sympathy, prayer & reflection. Disgusting excuse for a “human”.


  • Nasreen
    Jul 25, 2014 - 7:44AM

    There are many of us who are praying for you and your family, and while we cannot feel the pain to your level, please know that our eyes weep too. May Haris’ abu be found….ameen.


  • Ali
    Jul 25, 2014 - 12:06PM

    How could a father support his teenage son on risking his life for charity.really sorry for what happened but the father did wrong by playing a part in the flight. The effort to collect in charity for TCF child education isn’t worth a teens life. cant be that way


  • Rajeev (Indian)
    Jul 25, 2014 - 2:35PM

    Very sad incident. Brave duo. May God their soul rest in peace.


  • Saima Khan
    Jul 25, 2014 - 7:42PM

    Any life lost is is sad and that said we are missing a very important point, the cause was very note worthy also but the pilot was very young and the father had no flying credentials and to undertake such a challenge was may be a little to immature putting both their lives in jeaopardy? Could the young man had some more flying hours and may be this could have avoided the sorry loss of life.
    The Pakistani embassy in Washington DC has taken no advantage to highlight this brave attempt to raise awareness of this family to help schools in disadvantage areas. It was the local American media that highlighted the brave act of the father son duo.
    Shame on the Pakistani embassy for not using the moment to highlight that even though there are Pakistanis living abroad they care for the poor & trodden trodden back home, while the Ambassador of Pakistan is staging dinners & fashion shows & their wives are busy shopping at the local malls!


  • Mullah Barabar
    Jul 25, 2014 - 11:32PM

    If Allah wanted humans to fly, he would have given us wings like the ones he gave to Jibreel.Recommend

  • Mudassir
    Jul 26, 2014 - 9:36AM

    Deeply saddened to hear about the loss of young talented Pilot ,They were out for a noble Cause and doing something positive for their mother country,May Allah grant them higher place in Jannat


  • abdullah khurshid
    Aug 3, 2014 - 8:19PM

    Very sad. May Allah have mercy on them.


  • Asad
    Aug 4, 2014 - 3:47PM

    A brave duo lost in this mishap. Very sad indeed. May Allah rest their souls in peace. Ameen.


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