Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 September 2020

Father missing in Beirut explosion found alive at sea 30 hours later

Amine Al Zahid was rescued on Thursday after being blown out to sea, but his family cannot find him in hospital

Amine Zahid, 42, was rescued from the sea on Thursday after going missing for nearly 30 hours following a huge blast in Beirut. Facebook
Amine Zahid, 42, was rescued from the sea on Thursday after going missing for nearly 30 hours following a huge blast in Beirut. Facebook

Father of two Amine Al Zahid was rescued at sea on Thursday after going missing for nearly 30 hours since the huge blast in Beirut.

Mr Al Zahid, 42, who was near Beirut port at the time of the explosion, is believed to have been blown out to sea by the force of the shockwave that has damaged half of the Lebanese capital and left 300,000 homeless.

The man from Beirut’s Tariq Al Jdideh area was found on Thursday morning by Lebanese army seamen, injured but alive.

But in the chaos after the blasts, his relatives have not been able to find him in hospital.

“Ten minutes prior to the explosion, he sent me a photo of the fire that preceded the explosion,” Amine’s brother Mohammad Al Zahid told The National.

"All of Beirut was shaken by the explosion and so were we. We were shaken twice, by the explosion and when he went missing."

Amine Zahid, 42, and his son pictured. The father of two went missing in Tuesday's blast in Beirut but has been recovered from the sea. Facebook
Amine Zahid, 42, and his son pictured. The father of two went missing in Tuesday's blast in Beirut but has been recovered from the sea. Facebook

The message was the last Mohammad heard from his brother, who works as a manager for a company in Beirut port.

Desperate for information, he immediately posted a picture of Amine and the family's contact details on social media, alongside hundreds of other images being shared of loved ones who had not been seen since the blast.

On Thursday, the good news they longed for arrived.

The family was told that Amine had been picked up by the sailors at 4am and handed over to the Lebanese Civil Defence.

Waiting at the entrance to the port for information, Mohammad checked with the Lebanese Red Cross and civil defence, who confirmed that his brother was alive.

But so far he has been unable to find out in which hospital he is being treated.

The National contacted Rafik Hariri University, the American University of Beirut Medical Centre and a few other hospitals, but none has any record of Amine Al Zahid.

“We just want to see him," Mohammad said. "We were told by the army that they saved him and he is alive. We do not know where he is."

He said the field hospital at Beirut airport told him that Amine was not being treated there either.

A photo of a man dressed in army-style clothes with an injured man, believed to be Amine, has surfaced on social media.

But Mohammad and his family are still waiting to be reunited with him.

Updated: August 7, 2020 01:29 AM

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