Search widened for Saudi student pilot who went missing in the Philippines

Saudi student pilot Abdullah Khalid Al-Sharif (right), Capt. Jose Nelson Yapparcon, his flight instructor.
Updated 05 June 2019

Search widened for Saudi student pilot who went missing in the Philippines

  • The twin-engine BB-55 disappeared from radar shortly off San Jose airport in Mindoro Island on May 17
  • Flight instructor Jose Nelson Yapparcon and Abdullah Khalid Al-Sharif, a student of the Orient Flying School, were on board.

MANILA: Search efforts for a missing Saudi aviation student and his Filipino teacher will be widened following a decision by Philippines authorities to put ocean sonar scanning on hold.
A spokesman for the Philippines Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP), Eric Apolonio, told Arab News that the search will be “repositioned” to include coastal and inland areas of Occidental Mindoro.
“Unfortunately, after days of unsuccessful sonar scanning in the search area, the sonar operation is temporarily on hold,” he said.
Representatives from the aviation authority are due to meet with Saudi embassy officials in Manila on Wednesday to provide an update on efforts to find the missing Beechcraft Baron 55 (BB-55) trainer aircraft and its two passengers, Abdullah Khalid Al-Sharif, a student of the Orient Flying School, and his flight instructor, Capt. Jose Nelson Yapparcon.
The twin-engine BB-55 operated by Orient Aviation Corp. disappeared from radar shortly after taking off from San Jose airport on May 17.
Personnel from the Philippines Armed Forces and Coast Guard, along with private divers, have been scouring the waters off San Jose since the flight went missing.
Abdullah Al-Bussairy, the Saudi ambassador, also sent embassy staff to assist in the search and investigate the disappearance of the aircraft.
Capt. Patrick Jay Retumban, a spokesman for the Army 2nd Division which has jurisdiction over Occidental Mindoro, confirmed that a meeting was held between a Saudi embassy delegation and CAAP officials on May 31 to discuss the next phase of the search operations.
Discussions centered on the condition of the pilot and aircraft, flight audio recordings before communication was lost, extension of the search operations, and the investigation of three fishermen who found a black backpack belonging to the flight instructor.
Apolonio earlier said that computer-generated information gathered during the sonar search had been brought to Cebu for analysis.
“We’re still hoping that they (Al-Sharif and Yapparcon) will be found safe,” he said.


Saudi Arabia registers 35 new coronavirus deaths

Updated 04 August 2020

Saudi Arabia registers 35 new coronavirus deaths

  • The Kingdom recorded 1,342 new infected COVID-19 cases

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 35 more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,984.
The Ministry of Health also said that it has registered 1,342 new infected cases, now totalling 281,435 cases in the Kingdom.
The areas most affected were Jeddah with 97 new cases, followed by Makkah with 56 cases and then Madinah with 53 new infections.
The ministry also said that 1,635 patients have recovered from the coronavirus disease, bringing number of recovered cases to 243,688.
The Kingdom has just completed the annual Hajj season, under strict precautionary measures, and pilgrims who took part in this year’s pilgrimage must continue to wear electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.
So far, over 18 million people have been affected by the disease worldwide and it has killed almost 700,000 people.