Search-and-rescue drill tests Border Guards’ preparedness

Border Guards personnel conduct a search-and-rescue drill in the waters off Al-Khafji.
Updated 16 December 2016

Search-and-rescue drill tests Border Guards’ preparedness

AL-KHAFJI: The General Directorate of the Border Guards on Thursday conducted the annual Search and Rescue “38” exercise with 28 government agencies involved in planning and dealing with maritime disasters.
The exercise was attended by Lt. Awad bin Eid Al-Balawi, director general of Border Guards and chairman of the Standing National Committee to Counter Maritime Disasters in the waters of Saudi Arabia in the governorate of Al-Khafji. Al-Khafji Gov. Mohamed Al-Hazza also attended.
The practical exercise scenario portrayed a civilian airliner, carrying 100 passengers and the crew, ditching into the waters off the coast of Al-Khafji Province.
The plane was carrying four parcels containing radioactive nuclear materials, according to the scenario of the drill.
The air traffic control tower at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam received distress signals coming from a civilian aircraft from outside Saudi Arabia, and that its No. 1 engine was on fire. Then it disappeared from radar and communications were lost, according to the drill scenario.
Immediately after receiving the distress signal, an alert was passed onto the joint operations room after providing them with the most-recent coordinates of the plane before it was lost.
Search and rescue operations of the Arabian Gulf group issued a yellow warning for all parties to be ready. After the crash was confirmed through a distress signal received from the plane, in addition to the information confirmed by Navy teams spotting the wreckage of the plane near Al-Khafji Province, the alarm was elevated to red, and the site was identified for all relevant bodies.
The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the flight’s information and its cargo, stating the existence of radioactive materials on board the plane, which could cause a radiation leak. Radioactivity detection teams from King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy were sent for the detection of radiation leakage, according to the training exercise.
Immediately, rescue teams rushed to the site, while all government agencies began to implement plans and measures to deal with the disaster. Sorting and cleansing zones for atomic radiation, and ambulances and helicopter landing pads involved in transporting the injured were prepared.
No radiation leakage was determined, and rescue operations then rescued all the victims; the search for the black boxes of the plane by aviation investigation experts and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) was then begun. The black boxes were recovered by divers.
Marine Col. Saher bin Mohammed Al-Harbi, spokesman for the Border Guards, said: “This exercise came in implementation of the directives of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy prime minister and minister of the interior, for continuous development of skills and preparations of security men in the implementation of their duties to maintain security and safety, in addition to achieving the highest levels of joint work between the government and private bodies, within the framework of the international protocols of the Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue of 1979.”
He said that the exercise was primarily designed to review, assess and train employees of the participant agencies in the implementation of all elements of the plan, which include search and rescue, evacuation, firefighting, pollution control, transportation and providing aid to those affected.”


Recent archaeological discoveries highlight Saudi Arabia as ‘a cradle of human civilizations,’ Rome conference told

Updated 06 December 2019

Recent archaeological discoveries highlight Saudi Arabia as ‘a cradle of human civilizations,’ Rome conference told

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has become a leader in the field of archaeological research in the past five years, a major exhibition in Rome was told.

Abdullah Al-Zahrani, director-general of archaeological research and studies at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, said that 44 international archaeological missions had been carried out this year in the Kingdom.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the “Roads of Arabia: Masterpieces of Antiquities in Saudi Arabia Across the Ages” exhibition, which opened at the National Museum of Rome on Nov. 26.

The groundbreaking exhibition was inaugurated by Saudi Minister of Culture Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan and Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities Dario Franceschini.

Al-Zahrani said that the Kingdom “has become one of the most advanced countries in terms of archaeological disclosures.”

“Recent discoveries by local and international missions have highlighted the Kingdom’s historical status and cultural depth as the cradle of the beginnings of human civilizations,” he said.

Archaeological discoveries continue to “instil the civilized dimension of the Kingdom,” he said.

“The religious, political, economic and cultural stature that Saudi Arabia enjoys is an extension of its long cultural heritage, in addition to its distinctive geographical position as a bridge and hub of cultural interaction between East and West that made it a meeting point for international land and sea trade routes throughout all ages,” he added.