‘There was no time to think about death’, Jeddah flood hero says

Daud Saripada Balindong with his little son in the Philippines. (Photo courtesy: Daud S. Balindong)
Updated 24 November 2017

‘There was no time to think about death’, Jeddah flood hero says

JEDDAH: Daud Saripada Balindong, a family driver, did not think twice about jumping into the water when he saw an elderly Saudi man trapped inside his car in the Abruq AR Rughamah neighborhood during last Tuesday’s floods.
The rescue, which was filmed and went viral on social media, echoes the heroic efforts of the Pakistani construction worker Farman Ali Khan, who died after saving the lives of 14 Saudis during Jeddah’s 2009 floods.
Balindong told Arab News that the trapped man was in his sixties and looked unable to leave the car. “There were many people around who tried to prevent me from swimming to reach the man. They were waiting for the Civil Defense to arrive,” he said.
Balindong added that the only thing he remembered at that moment was the Qur’anic instruction that says: “... and he who saved someone’s life, it will be as equally rewarding as if he had saved all mankind,” he said.

When he reached the man, he handed him a lifejacket and helped him to get out of the car and jump into the water. The two swam to the dry side of the road, where the Saudi man thanked Balindong and asked Allah to reward him.
“There was no time to think about death and I could not just watch a person dying or about to die. This does not mean I want to say I am a hero. It was a spontaneous response dictated by humanity, and I am so happy to have been able to save the man’s life,” he said. He said that he did not deserve to be awarded for what he had done.
The 39-year-old Filipino family driver, a father of seven children, has been working in Saudi Arabia for about seven years, six of which were in Jubail. He said he had received a number of calls from his family in the Philippines saying they were proud of the bravery he had shown.

Trump slams rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi disappearance

Updated 41 min 49 sec ago

Trump slams rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi disappearance

  • ‘I think we have to find out what happened first’
  • ‘Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that’

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized rapidly mounting global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the mystery of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warning of a rush to judgment and echoing the Saudis’ request for patience.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.

“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”

The Oval Office interview came not long after Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He spoke by phone a day earlier with King Salman.

After speaking with the king, Trump floated the idea that “rogue killers” may have been responsible for the disappearance. The president told the AP on Tuesday that that description was informed by his “feeling” from his conversation with Salman and that the king did not use the term.

“It sounded to me, maybe these could have been rogue killers,” Trump said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in Turkey after talks with King Salman and the crown prince in Riyadh on the case of Khashoggi.

Pompeo had a brief meeting with the king before a lengthy, 40-minute discussion with the crown prince.

“We are strong and old allies. We face our challenges together,” the crown prince said as he warmly welcomed Pompeo to the Saudi capital.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir also had talks with Pompeo. “The secretary and the foreign minister agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said later.

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to complete paperwork related to his divorce. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have set up a joint team to investigate the disappearance.