Search continues for missing Saudi pilot in Philippines


By Hussein Hazzazi and Zein Anbar

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The Saudi Embassy in the Philippines is coordinating with relevant Philippine agencies involved in a search operation for Saudi trainee pilot Abdullah Al-Shareef who went missing in Occidental Mindoro island during a training flight some nine days ago.

It said in a statement on Saturday that on May 19 the embassy received a call from Muhammad Khaled Al-Shareef, who is living with his brother Abdullah to study at an aviation institute, that he lost contact with his brother during a training flight with his Filipino trainer.

The embassy has set up a team working around the clock to coordinate with the Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant Philippine authorities.

Earlier, Abdullah’s family disclosed to Okaz/Saudi Gazette details about the training aircraft carrying their son and his Filipino trainer which disappeared from sight in Occidental Mindoro island.

“Abdullah and his brother are studying aviation in the Philippines at their own expense. They went to the island for training. On the same day on which they disappeared, Abdullah went out on a training trip with his Filipino trainer,” family members said.

They added: “The family was shocked by what was circulated recently on finding the plane’s wreckage after its disappearance from the radar screen, as well as some bodies and shredded flesh in the sea and personal effects of the trainer.”

They further said: “The family is on the same island on which the plane disappeared to follow up on the incident. Till this moment, all the circulating information on finding the plane’s wreckage and some shredded body parts are untrue. However, a fisherman found a bag containing the trainer’s identity card, bank cards and photos.”

The family said that a colleague of their missing son Abdullah had telephoned him on his mobile one week after he had gone missing. He received a reply from a woman, who spoke for five minutes. Then she ended the call.

They demanded compliance with accuracy and credibility in publishing information and not to circulate rumors, as these are affecting the missing pilot’s family.

The information indicates that the plane that went missing did not crash and Abdullah and his companion, the Filipino trainer, are alive.

The family added that they have informed the

A hashtag ‘Pilot Abdullah Al-Shareef’ has been created on Twitter.