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

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

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 confirms 6 COVID-19 deaths, 170 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 6 COVID-19 deaths, 170 new cases
Updated 15 min 32 sec ago

Saudi Arabia confirms 6 COVID-19 deaths, 170 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 6 COVID-19 deaths, 170 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 161 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 67

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded six new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 6,329.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 170 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 365,099 people have now contracted the disease.
Of the total number of cases, 1,922 remain active and 317 in critical condition.

According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 67, followed by Makkah with 38, the Eastern Province with 25, Madinah recorded 22 and Hail confirmed five cases.
The ministry also announced that 161 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 356,848.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 95 million people globally and the death toll has exceeded 2 million.