x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

'Missing' student could have been found earlier

An Emirati student who went missing in California could have been found earlier if a hospital had not got his name wrong.

SHARJAH // An Emirati student who went missing in California could have been found earlier if a hospital had not got his name wrong, it emerged yesterday. Majid Khalid Shohail, 19, had been expected at Dubai International Airport on February 16 following a flight from Los Angeles International Airport that departed the previous day, but he never arrived.

Mr Shohail returned home on Thursday, almost three weeks later than expected. His family released a statement this week saying he had been hit by a car while crossing the road on the day of his flight and was taken to hospital with minor injuries. However, his name was registered at the hospital as Mohammed instead of Majid, according to his family, leaving them unable to trace him. His father, Khalid Shohail, said he went to Los Angeles and reported a missing person in the name of Majid Khalid. The police found a hotel room containing his luggage and documents where he had stayed the night before his flight, but there was no sign of the student from Sharjah.

The police searched the hospitals and found that a Mohammed Khalid had been hospitalised after an accident. "They called me to come and see him and check if he was Majid, and he was the one," Mr Shohail said. Describing the moment he was reunited with his son, he said: "These images would never go away from my memory. "Once Majid heard my voice calling him in the hospital he jumped from his ward bed to my arms and as I embraced him, he could not stop crying.

"Every day I passed by the hospital but couldn't know that my son I was searching for was in that hospital." ykakande@thenational.ae