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Search efforts intensify for Saudi trainee pilot who went missing in the Philippines

Search efforts intensify for Saudi trainee pilot who went missing in the Philippines

The pilot and his instructor went missing on May 17

Search efforts for a missing Saudi trainee pilot and his Filipino teacher will be widened following their disappearance over the Occidental Mindoro last month.

Abdullah Khalid Al-Sharif, a student of the Orient Flying School, and his flight instructor, Jose Nelson Yapparcon were onboard a Beechcraft Baron 55 (BB-55) trainer aircraft which disappeared from radar shortly after taking off from San Jose airport on May 17.

The Philippines Armed Forces and Coast Guard, along with private divers, have been conducting search operations since then.

A spokesman for the Philippines Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP), Eric Apolonio, told Saudi daily Arab News that the search will now 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.

Apolonio previously stated that computer-generated information collected 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,” the paper quoted him as saying.

The Saudi embassy in the Philippines has said it is coordinating with the relevant Philippine agencies involved in the search operation.

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