Body of missing Saudi free-diving champion found off Jeddah

In this file photo, Bassam Bakheet raises the Saudi flag after winning in a free diving competition. (Supplied photo)
Updated 07 July 2019
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Body of missing Saudi free-diving champion found off Jeddah

  • Bakheet went missing Thursday while training for a free-diving event that is part of Jeddah Season

JEDDAH: The body of Saudi free-diving champion Bassam Bakheet has been found in a search and rescue operation carried out by Border Guards in Jeddah.

Bakheet went missing on Thursday while training in the sea in preparation for a free-diving event that is part of Jeddah Season.

In a championship in May 2017 in Egypt, organized by the global freediving association AIDA, Bakheet set a record for Saudi and Gulf divers by diving 71 meters under water without an oxygen cylinder or fins for two minutes and 56 seconds.

“I met Bassam two years ago at a Ramadan gathering for divers. During these two years, our friendship grew stronger, especially during recent times,” Hamza Siam, a doctor and a free-diving instructor who worked closely with Bakheet, told Arab News.

“We were working on a business project and I’d gotten to know him more. He became a very dear friend of mine,” Siam said.

“He was very kind and humane. He loved everyone and everyone loved him. His smile was enough to brighten up everyone’s day. He was an amazing person,” he added.

“It was a very painful and tragic incident to bear, especially for me and our colleagues who were all there at the time of the incident,” Siam said.

“I was one of the last people who interacted with Bassam. I’d take photos and videos of him diving and keep them on my phone,” he added.

“The incident was heart-breaking. I couldn’t do anything at the time. We tried looking for him for an hour in the sea.”

The diving community mourned Bakheet’s death. @Fkhayat09 tweeted: “Jeddah & its community is sad today & grieving the loss of our best free-divers instructor. The hero who holds many records nationally & internationally #bassam_bakheet May Allah bless his family & loved ones w/ patience.”

@Sp_SNz tweeted: “Your smile will remain. Despite the fact that I have not interacted with you so much, I admire you and I wish I had known you sooner. You were very polite and loved. You wished good for others and always lent a helping hand.”


Arab coalition preventing Houthis from threatening navigation

Updated 22 July 2019
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Arab coalition preventing Houthis from threatening navigation

  • 16 permits have been issued to secure the passage of ships heading to the port of Hodeidah
  • Al-Maliki: Houthi militia continues to obstruct the arrival of humanitarian aid and violates international humanitarian law

RIYADH: The Arab coalition fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen said on Monday it is continuing its duty to prevent the Iranian-backed Houthi militia from threatening international shipping.
However, speaking at a weekly press conference in Riyadh, spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki also said the threat of international navigation is the responsibility of the international community
Col. Al-Maliki added that 16 permits have been issued to secure the passage of ships heading to the port of Hodeidah.
He also said that the Houthi militia continues to obstruct the arrival of humanitarian aid and violates international humanitarian law by targeting civilians and civilian sites, which have escalated to war crimes.
“The coalition is protecting the Yemeni citizens at the request of the legitimate government in Yemen and we will continue to provide assistance to the Yemeni people,” Al-Maliki added.
He also shed light on the coalition’s attacks on legitimate military targets in the capital Sanaa, which is under the control of the terrorist militia.