x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Body of missing Algerian diver recovered off coast of Dubai

Dubai Police said a fishing vessel found the body of Adel Ait-Ghezala about three miles south of where he went missing.

Adel Ait-Ghezala’s body was found on Saturday after he went missing while diving off the coast of Dubai last week. Courtesy Abdullah Al-Arian
Adel Ait-Ghezala’s body was found on Saturday after he went missing while diving off the coast of Dubai last week. Courtesy Abdullah Al-Arian

DUBAI // The body of a diver who went missing 40 kilometres off the Dubai coast was recovered from the sea on Saturday.

Adel Ait-Ghezala, 35, a PhD student from Algeria, had been spearfishing with three friends when he went missing on New Year’s Day.

His body was discovered shortly after noon by a friend who was on a fishing vessel three kilometres south of where the missing man had last been seen.

“Our rescue patrol went to the location and met the fishermen and brought the body back to the nearest port, near the Burj Al Arab,” said Col Juma Al Falasi, director of the Dubai Police Search and Rescue Department.

“The man’s family were informed and they confirmed his identity.”

“We are deeply saddened,” said Abdullah Al Arian, a close friend of the dead man.

“It will give his family and loved ones some peace to have found him.

“He was my best friend and it is hard to picture the world without him. We know he has gone to a better place.”

Another friend of Ait-Ghezala who was with him on the diving trip said reports that he had been wearing a 6-kilogram diving vest were inaccurate and that the actual weight was closer to 4 kilograms. A Facebook page to update friends and family on the search for the missing diver paid tribute to him after the body was found.

“It is with a heavy heart that we say rest in peace dear Adel,” it said.

“Thank you all for all your prayers and support through the rescue efforts. Adel will be dearly missed. Please continue to keep his friends and family in your thoughts and prayers. We are full of gratitude for all your efforts.”

Col Al Falasi said the family would be given full support and an investigation would be carried out into the circumstances of the man’s death.

After he disappeared, Dubai police and coastguard services launched a search and rescue operation.

Friends and family of Ait-Ghezala, who was an experienced freediver, also began raising funds to help in the rescue effort.

A webpage was set up to take donations and facilitate an expanded search effort, and raised almost US$70,000 (Dh260,000) in three days.

ksinclair@thenational.ae