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Beacon recovered after teen pilot's ocean crash

By Fili Sagapolutele

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Aug. 4 2014 5:35 p.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, Aug. 4 2014 5:35 p.m. MDT

In this June 19, 2014 file photo, Babar Suleman and son Haris Suleman, 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.

The Indianapolis Star, Robert Scheer, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — Officials in American Samoa on Monday recovered a personal locator beacon registered to an Indiana teen and his father who crashed off the U.S. territory last month as they attempted to fly around the world.

Haris Suleman, 17, died in the July 22 crash and his father, Babar Suleman, remains missing.

The beacon registered to the Sulemans was retrieved from a family in a shoreline village, American Samoa Department of Homeland Security Director Iuniasolua Savusa said Monday.

Local authorities got a call late Sunday from the U.S. Force Rescue Center in Florida that the beacon was transmitting GPS coordinates, Savusa said.

Police searched the shoreline and Homeland Security issued a bulletin Sunday night for help from the community.

Savusa said a young boy found the device and took it home.

"The minor child told his father that the device was with a black pack-bag which was badly torn and the only thing the youngster saw was an antenna sticking out of the pack-bag," Savusa said. "The youngster took only the device, which has the antenna. I now have the device in my possession."

Savusa said the police team went back to where the child found the device but did not find the bag.

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 also was a fundraiser to help build schools in his father's native Pakistan.

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