x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 December 2017

Tributes to Emirati pilot killed when plane crashed in Yemen

Prayers as Captain Khalid Mohammad Al Shehi's body is yet to be recovered

Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince offers condolences to family of martyr Khalid Al Shehi
Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince offers condolences to family of martyr Khalid Al Shehi

Tributes have been paid to a pilot who was killed when his aircraft crashed in Yemen.

Captain Khalid Mohammad Al Shehi died when his aircraft crashed due to a technical failure, state news agency Wam reported, quoting the UAE Armed Forces General Command.

He was serving as part of Operation Restoring Hope.

An absentee funeral prayer was performed on Wednesday for Al Shehi in at the Martyrs' Mosque in Al Qadfa, Fujairah.

Al Shehi was 31 years old and has three children – Moza, 4, Zayed, 3, and Salama, nine months.

In his last voice message sent to his friends before his death, shared on social media, Al Shehi is heard asking them to pray for his 'victory or martyrdom'.

"I’ll meet you in a month, God willing,” he said, in apparent reference to returning home on leave.

The rulers of the UAE offered their heartfelt condolences to the family and to his father, who said that he was proud that his son is amongst the fallen soldiers.

The General Command of the UAE Armed Forces had earlier announced that an aircraft had crashed due to a technical failure. Wam reported that Al Shehi died and that "some others went missing".

No more details about the accident were available on Thursday.

Last month, four Emirati servicemen were killed when the helicopter they were in crashed in Yemen.

A further three, including Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the grandson of the country's founding father, who had served with the elite Presidential Guard, were injured.

The other two soldiers were Rashid Al Balushi and Rashid Al Dhuhoori.

The funerals of the fallen were attended by many hundreds, while prayers were said for the injured for a swift recovery.