x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Crews search for Sheikh Ahmed after crash

Moroccan authorities are still looking for Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan after a glider he was in crashed into a lake near Rabat.

OUM AZZA, MOROCCO // Moroccan authorities were still looking for Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan today after a glider he was in crashed into a lake on Friday near Rabat, the Moroccan capital. Sheikh Ahmed is the managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the emirate's large sovereign wealth fund, and a younger brother of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The glider's pilot was rescued after the crash, but Sheikh Ahmed remained missing as rescue operations continued. The cause of the crash is unknown, and details of the pilot's rescue have not yet been made public. The pilot, a Spanish man, was recovering today in a Rabat hospital, said Maria-José Martinez, a representative of the Spanish Embassy in Rabat, referring to the man as a co-pilot. Moroccan gendarmerie were stationed along roads leading to the lake on Saturday, and security officials barred access to the promontory near where Sheikh Ahmed disappeared.

The lake, near farmland and valleys, is a popular spot for recreation and fishing. Sheikh Ahmed was 27th on last year's Forbes list of the world's most powerful people. He is the chairman of the board of trustees of the Zayed Foundation for Charitable and Humanitarian Works. He is well known in Oum Azza, a tiny farming village several kilometres from the crash site, where locals say he has often given charity to poor families when visiting.

"As soon as word got out about the crash, all the fishermen around here took their boats and started searching the lake," said Mustapha, sharing a lunch of bread and milk with two friends by the roadside. "And they're still searching." @Email:jthorne@thenational.ae