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Haris Suleman, a 17-year-old youth from Indiana who was trying to become the youngest person to fly around the world, has died and his father is missing Wednesday after their plane crashed off American Samoa Wednesday, his sister said in a Facebook post.
Hiba Suleman, Haris' sister, said her brother's body was recovered from the crash but there was no sign of their father, Babar Suleman.
"Before the news breaks, I'd like to thank everyone for their support of my father and brother throughout this trip, as well as for the support given to my mom, brother and myself as we waited for their safe return," she wrote. "Haris and my dad's plane went down upon take off in American Samoa. Haris has been found- he did not make it. My father has not yet been found. Please pray that my dad is found alive and well. Also, hug your siblings and parents -- tell them you love them, a hundred time. A thousand times. It will never feel like it's been said quite often enough."
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating an accident involving a Beech A36 Bonanza aircraft, the same type of plane used by Haris and Babar Suleman for their attempt at breaking the record for the youngest person to fly around the world in 30 days.
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NTSB is investigating today’s accident in Pago Pago, American Samoa involving a Beech A36 Bonanza.
â€” NTSB (@NTSB) July 23, 2014
A family spokesman confirmed to ABC News that it was the Sulemans' plane that crashed.
The NTSB said in a tweet Wednesday afternoon it was investigating the accident off Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa. It did not confirm whether the plane was the one piloted by Haris, whose attempted record-breaking trip was launched to raise money for a nonprofit that builds schools in Babar Suleman’s native Pakistan. But the Sulemans’ Beech A36 Bonanza took off from Pago Pago shortly after the accident occurred and several reports claimed their plane crashed.
Haris and his father started their journey in June from Greenwood Airport in Indiana.
The 17-year-old learned how to fly when he was 8 years old. Haris was vying to become the youngest person to fly around the world in a single-engine plane. The record belongs to 19-year-old Matt Guthmiller of South Dakota, who accomplished the feat Monday while flying solo.