Family Of Man Killed In Am. Samoa Plane Crash Hope To Find Body

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Suleman family hires private diving company to search for father

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Oct. 21, 2014) – The Suleman family has contracted Global Diving & Salvage, a diving company, to continue the search for the body of Babar Suleman, who was killed with his son, Haris, when their Beech aircraft crashed into the ocean just off of Pago Pago International Airport on July 23, 2014. The body of Haris was recovered soon after the crash, however the body of the father was never found.

A three-man diving team arrived in the territory last Friday night, says Director of Homeland Security, Utuali’i Iuniasolua Savusa.

Global Diving & Salvage, according to their website, is known as the largest diving contractor on the West Coast, and provides marine construction and infrastructure support services in the United States.

The father and son team, Babar and Haris Suleman, from Indiana state, had hoped to set the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe in a single-engine airplane with the youngest pilot (17-year old Haris) in command. The trip was also a fundraiser for Seeds of Learning, a Plainfield nonprofit organization that works with The Citizens Foundation to build schools in rural Pakistan. After seven years of volunteering with the organization, Haris and his father decided to take their charity work to the next level with their plane trip.

Neither the body of the father nor the location of the aircraft was found during the search and rescue mission conducted when the crash first happened.

The off island diving team will be using specialized sonar equipment to conduct the underwater search with a remotely operated vehicle and they will be using the vessel Bona Vista II for their search.

The DHS director told Samoa News that Hiba Suleman, the daughter of Babar Suleman will be arriving on Monday night’s flight and she’s accompanied by a family friend who will be filming the search operations for a documentary film.

Utuali’i said the American Samoa Government had explored all their options in terms of the resources they have, and the family is now conducting this search on their own. He said ASG will continue to assist if necessary, however its assistance is limited. According to the director, the crew hopes to begin the underwater search tomorrow.

According to their website, Global Diving & Salvage is one of the few full-service underwater marine contractors that can provide project management, in-house engineering, marine and upland environmental services, and the full spectrum of commercial diving services. "We do this through our three core services Marine Construction, Casualty Response, and Offshore Support Services in our four operating regions of Alaska, California, Gulf Coast, and the Pacific Northwest."

Samoa News notes that officials in American Samoa on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, recovered a personal locator beacon registered to the Sulemans. It was retrieved from a family in Lauli’i Village, after local authorities got a call late Sunday from the U.S. Force Rescue Center in Florida that the beacon was transmitting GPS co-ordinates. Police searched the shoreline and Homeland Security issued a bulletin Sunday night for help from the community. Utuali’i said a young boy found the device and took it home, not knowing what it was.

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