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Memorial service at sea for father and son

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Members of the Suleman family meeting with DHS Director Utuali'i Iuniasolua Savusa at the DHS office for a briefing on the status of the search and rescue efforts. A memorial service has been scheduled for today. Photo / Samoa News.

A memorial service at sea will be held for a 17-year-old pilot from Indiana and his father, whose plane crashed during an around-the-world flight attempt in American Samoa last Wednesday.

American Samoa's Lieutenant Governor is expected to lead the 2 p.m. service today, which includes throwing a wreath at sea to remember Haris Suleman and his father, Babar. The service will be held at the site where searchers believe the plane may have gone down. Haris Suleman's body was recovered shortly after Wednesday’s crash. Crews are still searching for his father.

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 was also a fundraiser to help build schools in his father's native Pakistan. During the weekend, Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin wrote to Mark Dunkerley,

 
 
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President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, asking for the airline to offer complimentary round-trip airfares to the Suleman family and also appealed to the people of American Samoa who are booked on tomorrow’s flight, to give up a seat in order for a member of the Suleman family to escort the body of Haris back to Indiana.

Hours later Hawaiian Air responded to Faleomavaega’s request and assured that a seat has been reserved for a member of the Suleman family to accompany Haris home, Faleomavaega said in a press release late Friday.

The Congressman thanked Hawaiian Air President Dunkerley and Vice President Ann Bottecelli and their staff “for making this possible."

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