Coast Guard, local agencies respond to downed plane near American Samoa

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard News
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — Coast Guard and local agencies are responding to a plane crash near Pago Pago International Airport after a single-engine plane crashed into the water Tuesday night.

Coast Guard watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received notification from the Regional Command Center in New Zealand that a Beechcraft Bonanza with two people aboard crashed into the water approximately one mile from shore at 9:55 p.m.

The pilot, 17-year-old Haris Suleman, was recovered unresponsive by the American Samoa Marine Patrol.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched at 9:35 p.m. (HST) and is on-scene along with an American Samoa Marine Patrol boat searching for the missing passenger, 58-year-old Babar Suleman.

“The Coast Guard would like to express our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the Sulemans,” said Michael Cobb, command duty officer at JRCC. “We will continue to do our best to locate Mr. Babar Suleman.”

The Indiana teenager was attempting to set a record for an around-the-world flight and was enroute to Hawaii, expecting to complete the trip Sunday.

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