x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Specialists from five nations in search for Sheikh Ahmed

The cause of the crash remains unclear as rescue workers and equipment pour in to assist in the search in Morocco.

RABAT, MOROCCO // Rescue workers from at least five countries are searching for Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed, who disappeared on Friday when the glider he was inside crashed into a lake near Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Sheikh Ahmed is managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, and a younger brother of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The aircraft's pilot, a Spaniard, was rescued shortly after the accident and taken to a Rabat hospital, said a spokeswoman from the Spanish Embassy, referring to the man as a co-pilot. Spain has contributed members of the Special Underwater Activities Group of its Civil Guard, the embassy spokeswoman said. Moroccan and Spanish workers have been joined by teams from France and the UAE, according to Morocco's state news agency, MAP.

Meanwhile, the United States has lent specialised equipment and personnel to the search, said a spokesman for the US Embassy. Sources could not comment on how many people are involved in the search. It is unclear what caused the crash, and details of the pilot's rescue have not been made public. Moroccan gendarmerie have blocked roads to the lake, formed by the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdellah dam. Local fishermen have also been taking part in the search. A steady traffic of security service vehicles and cars with diplomatic plates came and went over the weekend from the waterfront estate where Sheikh Ahmed has been staying.

The region has been drenched with heavy rains recently, raising the water level in the lake to the dam's full capacity, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency. jthorne@thenational.ae