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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Family of diver who disappeared in Fujairah waters appeal for answers

Sultan Sabha, 40, went missing on April 15 after diving a 110m deep wreck about 46 kilometres off the coast of Fujairah

Sultan Sabha, a diver who went missing off of the coast of Fujairah in April. Courtesy Diaa Sabha
Sultan Sabha, a diver who went missing off of the coast of Fujairah in April. Courtesy Diaa Sabha

The family of a diver who disappeared off the coast of Fujairah two months ago are urging police for more information about the investigation after his camera was discovered at the site.

Sultan Sabha, a 40-year-old Jordanian man, went missing on April 15 after diving a 110m deep wreck about 46 kilometres off the coast of Fujairah.

A certified technical diver with more than 22 years of experience, Sultan was diving the Second World War German submarine wreck with a friend after taking a private boat to the site.

“According to the investigation reports, after spending 18 minutes exploring the wreck they starting ascending to the surface but Sultan’s camera got stuck in a rope on the way up and he went back to get it,” said Diaa Sabha, Sultan’s brother.

He said Sultan is an experienced diver who has been trained to respond calmly in such emergencies.

“Sultan is a certified international technical and cave diver who dives almost every week, he trains people, knows everything about diving and loves it.

“I believe my brother is an expert and he is experienced enough to act in every situation.

“I don’t know what went wrong and the authorities are not sharing any updates with us,” he said.

Sultan’s friends and family — including his mother, wife and four siblings — believe he is still alive and await his return.

Sultan Sabha was an experienced technical diver. Courtesy Diaa Sabha
Sultan Sabha was an experienced technical diver. Courtesy Diaa Sabha

“His disappearance shocked us all and we are all praying and hoping that he will return or even call to say that he is alright and that he is diving in another place,” said Diaa, 29.

Sultan moved to the UAE from Jordan 18 years ago to work as a travel agent and now owns The Concierge Club in Dubai.

Diaa, who lives in Jordan, said his brother called him three days before his disappearance and told him he was planning on travelling to South Africa to dive Boesmansgat, one of the world's deepest freshwater caves that has claimed the lives of three people.

“He always says that diving makes him feel relaxed and unstressed and that when he dives he forgets about everything and it gives him the opportunity to explore new places that no one has ever been to,” said Diaa.

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“He is an adventurer and nothing stands in his way, he is kind, funny, a straightforward guy and a professional one”.

Diaa said a group of divers found Sultan’s camera three weeks ago at the wreck and submitted it to police as evidence.

“I’m pretty sure that the camera has many answers to our questions but no one is telling us anything.

“For us he will still be missing until proven otherwise and we appeal for the authorities to keep searching for him and provide us with answers,” said Diaa.

The family, with the help of Jordanian officials, contacted authorities in Iran and Oman to alert them of Sultan’s disappearance and to enquire about any information on Sultan.

“We contacted both the Omani and Iranian authorities to check if they received any news about Sultan and asked them to help in searching for him but we have not received any updates from them either,” he said.

The wreck Sultan and his friend were diving is 25 nautical miles off the coast of Fujairah. Randi Sokoloff / The National
The wreck Sultan and his friend were diving is 25 nautical miles off the coast of Fujairah. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Simon Nadim, the technical diver who found the camera, said he came upon it while searching for Sultan.

“We went diving in the site to help search for Sultan and found his camera. We immediately handed it to the authorities to help with investigations,” said Mr Nadim, manager of XR Hub diving centre in Fujairah.

“It’s not an easy dive, it’s an extreme dive that needs a lot of experience and we don’t know what exactly happened on that day,” he said.

Mr Nadim said Sultan had taken out a private boat to dive the site.

“We only know that they went on a private boat and not within a group or through a diving centre, but accidents happen and it’s a very sad and tragic incident,” he said.

Sharjah Police declined to comment on the case.

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