Search continuing for missing Saudi student pilot in Philippine crash

Abdullah Khalid Al-Sharif
Updated 28 May 2019

Search continuing for missing Saudi student pilot in Philippine crash

  • Authorities are yet to find the missing Beechcraft Baron 55 (BB-55) aircraft or its two occupants

MANILA: Efforts to find a missing Saudi aviation student and his instructor who went missing May 17 in the Philippines continued on Monday.

Eric Apolonio, a spokesman for the Philippines Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP), said Coast Guard teams, divers and technicians armed with sonar equipment from the Orient Flying School (OFS) had been deployed to scan the waters south of the town of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro.

They have yet to find the missing Beechcraft Baron 55 (BB-55) aircraft or its two occupants, Abdullah Khalid Al-Sharif, a 23-year-old student at the OFS, and his teacher, Capt. Jose Nelson Yapparcon.

The two were on a training flight when the BB-55 vanished from radar shortly after takeoff from San Jose airport. Apolonio said operations, now in their 10th day, might expand beyond the waters of the San Jose Strait, about 42 km from the coast, but that the search was being hampered by bad weather conditions.

HIGHLIGHtS

• The Saudi aviation student and his trainer went missing on May 17.

• Abdullah Khalid Al-Sharif and Capt. Jose Nelson Yapparcon were flying a Beechcraft Baron 55.

Three days after the disappearance, the CAAP said debris of an airplane was found in the area. A bag containing Yapparcon’s identification cards and belongings have also been found.

“Our investigators are just on standby. They still could not assess the debris that was found May 20 and, without the rest of the wreckage, they are also not in a position to investigate,” Apolonio told Arab News.

But Al-Sharif’s brother, Abdul Majeed, criticized what he described as “very weak” search efforts by Philippines authorities on Sunday, as well as the Saudi Embassy in Manila for its lack of help.

He told Arab News that “nothing new” had been confirmed since the May 20 discovery, and that his family would pursue “personal efforts” to widen the search.


King Salman meets GCC leaders for 40th Gulf summit in Riyadh

Updated 27 min 14 sec ago

King Salman meets GCC leaders for 40th Gulf summit in Riyadh

  • Heads of the delegations land in Riyadh before the 40th Supreme Council meeting gets under way
  • Among the many issues expected to be discussed is a greater level of integration between Gulf countries

RIYADH: GCC leaders arrived in Riyadh Tuesday for a summit that will focus on improving integration between Gulf countries.

The 40th Supreme Council meeting will be chaired by King Salman, who met the representatives from each country as they landed.

The heads of the delegations including the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani said Gulf leaders will discuss a number of important issues to enhance the process of cooperation and integration among member states in various political, defense, security, economic and social fields.

They will also review regional and international political developments, security conditions in the region, and their implications for the security and stability of the GCC countries.

Among the topics on the agenda is the war in Yemen and Iran’s interference in regional affairs.

At a preparatory meeting on Monday, Gulf foreign ministers approved the nomination of former Kuwaiti Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf as the next secretary-general of the GCC.

His term will begin in April 2020 following the end of Al-Zayani’s term.