Off-loaded Sri Lankan pilgrim set to leave Riyadh

Updated 15 October 2014
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Off-loaded Sri Lankan pilgrim set to leave Riyadh

The Haj pilgrim who was off-loaded in Riyadh from a flight bound to Colombo from Jeddah on Friday will be discharged from the hospital within the next few days, a senior official from the Sri Lankan Embassy here told Arab News on Tuesday.
The Sri Lankan Airlines flight, which was transporting Haj pilgrims back home, was forced to make an emergency landing at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh after a Haj pilgrim complained of severe chest pain.
The diplomat said that Thajudeen Packeer, 65, began suffering from severe breathing difficulties after the flight took off from Jeddah.
The patient and the leader of his Haj group, Ameen Travels, were offloaded at Riyadh’s airport and the patient was admitted to Kingdom Hospital in Riyadh.
“The passenger is currently being treated at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital and will be moved to the general ward on Wednesday prior to his departure back home,” he said.
“Flight UL282 was diverted within an hour of take-off after a Haj pilgrim complained of severe chest pain,” said Ruwan Wijekone, Sri Lankan Airlines manager in Riyadh.
A Maldivian doctor, who was a Haj pilgrim on board, had advised the crew to land at the nearest airport for emergency medical treatment.
A total of 2,300 pilgrims went for Haj from Colombo on a reduced quota given by the Saudi government this year. Last year, some 3,500 pilgrims had performed Haj. The quota was reduced due to the ongoing construction works at Makkah.
Adam Bawa Uthuma Lebbe, Sri Lanka’s consul-general in Jeddah, said there was only one death among this year’s pilgrims from Colombo.
The death was due to natural causes and the deceased was buried in Madinah before Eid, he said.


Pitbull and Akon wow crowds at Saudi Arabia’s Asharqiah Music Festival

Updated 11 min 32 sec ago
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Pitbull and Akon wow crowds at Saudi Arabia’s Asharqiah Music Festival

  • Earlier on Friday, planes raced over the waters of the Dammam Corniche, thrilling the crowd who had gathered to see the Red Bull Race
  • Although not the actual championship itself, the demonstration did not disappoint, with pilots pulling their aircraft through barrel rolls and high G-force turns along a floating obstacle course

DAMMAM: Week two of Sharqiah Season started with a bang as US rapper Pitbull performed at Dammam’s Life Park as part of the Asharqiah Music Festival on Friday afternoon.
Although his Thursday night concert was canceled, fans were certainly not disappointed when he took the stage at 4 p.m. An energy-filled Pitbull hyped-up the crowd in minutes, and soon enough everyone was singing along to some of his most famous songs, including “Taxi,” “Timber,” “On The Floor” and more.
The rapper even teased a short sample of his newest song, “Cinco de Mayo,” leading the crowd in the opening chant before launching into the song’s intro.
He thanked his fans multiple times for their understanding over the delay of the concert, telling them how happy he was to have made it.
“I want you to be able to tell people, ‘I went to a Pitbull concert, and I had the time of my life, Saudi Arabia!’” he shouted, before launching into a rendition of “Time of Our Lives.”


Fireworks, confetti and a wildly enthusiastic audience made for a memorable experience.
Arab News caught up with Pitbull backstage after the show. When asked if he had something to say to his fans, he replied: “To everyone in Saudi I wanna say thank you for the love, I appreciate the opportunity. Great crowd, great energy.”
The performance was hastily rescheduled due to the rapper’s delay in Iceland on his way to Saudi Arabia for the festival.
Due to technical difficulties, his plane was grounded and unable to fly until a spare part was delivered from the US, causing him to miss the initial date.
Pitbull posted an apology video on Twitter, in which he promised fans an unforgettable experience at the rescheduled show. “Make sure you keep your tickets,” he told his fans.
Safa Hukrdoh, from Dammam, said she would have preferred to experience the concert at night, but had no complaints. “I think it was amazing. I have been to other concerts outside (of Saudi Arabia), but this is the first time inside.”
The festivities at Life Park continue today as Akon, French Montana and Amr Diab all take the stage for the second evening of the Asharqiah Music Festival.

It is one of 83 events planned for the Sharqiah Season, the first of 11 Saudi Seasons taking place across the country in 2019.
Earlier on Friday, planes raced over the waters of the Dammam Corniche, thrilling the crowd who had gathered to see the Red Bull Race. Although not the actual championship itself, the demonstration did not disappoint, with pilots pulling their aircraft through barrel rolls and high G-force turns along a floating obstacle course.
“It’s been a nice day for the family,” said Mohammed Saleh Al-Ghamdi, who had come out with his wife, his mother-in-law and his three children. “We come here every weekend, and every weekend there is a new surprise waiting.
“This time it is these air races, which my son, Hussam, found really exciting. We all had our photos taken with the planes and ate hamburgers, and now we are going to have some ice cream before the next plane comes out to perform.”
Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 cultural events organized by the General Entertainment Authority, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, The General Sports Authority and General Culture Authority.
The initiative falls in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program, which aims to improve the quality of life in the Kingdom by providing enriching cultural pursuits and shows. The 83 activities planned for the festival, which is being held in 9 different cities, feature entertainment, educational activities, sports events and culture.
Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with the weekends ahead also featuring the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Deadmau5 among others.