Body of missing Saudi free-diving champion found off Jeddah

In this file photo, Bassam Bakheet raises the Saudi flag after winning in a free diving competition. (Supplied photo)
Updated 07 July 2019

Body of missing Saudi free-diving champion found off Jeddah

  • Bakheet went missing Thursday while training for a free-diving event that is part of Jeddah Season

JEDDAH: The body of Saudi free-diving champion Bassam Bakheet has been found in a search and rescue operation carried out by Border Guards in Jeddah.

Bakheet went missing on Thursday while training in the sea in preparation for a free-diving event that is part of Jeddah Season.

In a championship in May 2017 in Egypt, organized by the global freediving association AIDA, Bakheet set a record for Saudi and Gulf divers by diving 71 meters under water without an oxygen cylinder or fins for two minutes and 56 seconds.

“I met Bassam two years ago at a Ramadan gathering for divers. During these two years, our friendship grew stronger, especially during recent times,” Hamza Siam, a doctor and a free-diving instructor who worked closely with Bakheet, told Arab News.

“We were working on a business project and I’d gotten to know him more. He became a very dear friend of mine,” Siam said.

“He was very kind and humane. He loved everyone and everyone loved him. His smile was enough to brighten up everyone’s day. He was an amazing person,” he added.

“It was a very painful and tragic incident to bear, especially for me and our colleagues who were all there at the time of the incident,” Siam said.

“I was one of the last people who interacted with Bassam. I’d take photos and videos of him diving and keep them on my phone,” he added.

“The incident was heart-breaking. I couldn’t do anything at the time. We tried looking for him for an hour in the sea.”

The diving community mourned Bakheet’s death. @Fkhayat09 tweeted: “Jeddah & its community is sad today & grieving the loss of our best free-divers instructor. The hero who holds many records nationally & internationally #bassam_bakheet May Allah bless his family & loved ones w/ patience.”

@Sp_SNz tweeted: “Your smile will remain. Despite the fact that I have not interacted with you so much, I admire you and I wish I had known you sooner. You were very polite and loved. You wished good for others and always lent a helping hand.”


DiplomaticQuarter: EU envoy wants increased cooperation with Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition

Updated 29 October 2020

DiplomaticQuarter: EU envoy wants increased cooperation with Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition

  • The IMCTC is an alliance of 41 countries that forms a pan-Islamic unified front in the global fight against terrorism

RIYADH: Patrick Simonnet, head of the EU delegation to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, recently visited the headquarters of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) in Riyadh.

IMCTC Secretary-General Maj. Gen. Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Moghedi received the EU diplomat and the accompanying delegation. Al-Moghedi briefed the visiting dignitaries about the coalition’s goals, achievements and the initiatives it has taken to fight terrorism in different forms.

He said the coalition represents an integrated system of intellectual and media initiatives and also aims to fight terror financing to effectively root out this menace. The IMCTC chief said the coalition aims to enhance cooperation and coordination among member states.

Simonnet said the EU looks forward to enhance cooperation with the Islamic military alliance in different fields.

Al-Moghedi also presented the EU ambassador with a memento.

The IMCTC is an alliance of 41 countries that forms a pan-Islamic unified front in the global fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

In coordination with the relevant authorities in the member countries, it promotes best practices, advances legal, regulatory, and operational frameworks, and facilitates information sharing to curb terror financing.

It also aims to assist member countries to enhance their military capabilities to fight terrorism.

The intellectual aspect specializes in preserving the universal message of Islam, promoting the values of moderation, tolerance and the preparation of targeted messages to counter radical ideology.

The media side is based on producing digital, media and other informative content to refute the rhetoric and claims of terrorist organizations and extremists.