Body found in search for missing expat family in Oman

  • 3 months   ago
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Body found in search for missing expat family in Oman

Search and rescue teams have recovered the body of an adult female from a flooded wadi in Ibra, authorities have confirmed.

The remains have been identified by Sardar Fazal Ahmed, the Indian expat whose entire family was swept away in a flash flood, as those of his mother.

Officials are now awaiting blood test results to officially confirm Sardar’s identification.

Speaking exclusively to Times of Oman, Sardar said: “I could tell right away that the body is that of my mother.

“I am hopeful that I will be able to go ahead with the burial in a couple of days once I have fulfilled all the legal procedures between Oman and India.

“And, hopefully, my two brothers and sister will soon join me in Ibra for the funeral of our mother.” A Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) official said they were awaiting positive identification via medical tests to confirm that the remains are those of his mother, Shabana Begum.

Sardar’s entire extended family was swept away in flash floods in Wadi Bani Khalid on Saturday.

He now faces a grim wait as emergency responders continue the search for his father, wife and three children.

 

According to an official spokesman from the PACDA: “Blood samples were taken from the body and sent to the forensic laboratory in Muscat for further examination to establish identity.”

The Indian expatriate, who works as a pharmacist in Ibra, lost both of his parents, Khan and Shabana Begum, his wife, Arshi, and his three children – his new born infant son Nooh, his two-year-old son Zaid and his four-year-old daughter Sidra.

Sardar had been notified by police of the discovery of the body on Tuesday morning.

PACDA search and rescue teams teamed up with Royal Oman Police officers with sniffer dogs, along with volunteers, to search for people reported missing in Wadi Bani Khalid and other areas affected by flooding in Oman. The unpredictable nature of the wadis meant combing the area was a slow process that the authorities were determined to successfully complete. Several teams of volunteers from the surrounding areas have also signed up to assist the emergency services. Night vision goggles have also been pressed into service so that the teams can work through the night.

“We have been searching for them for three consecutive days, with the help of residents in Wadi Bani Khalid,” said the PACDA official. “It was not an easy job but we have to - and will - find them. It was raining heavily on Tuesday morning, which hindered our search operations for a while but we resumed after rain stopped. We have combed over 80 km across both of the tracks of Wadi Bani Khalid, tracks in both the Wilayats of Wadi Bani Khalid and Kamil W’al Wafi.

A friend of Sardar, given permission to speak to Times of Oman on his behalf, said he is bracing himself for more bad news. “Last night (Monday)the body was recovered by the team and was then taken to the ministry hospital in Ibra.

“Sardar received the information in the morning and went to the hospital to identify the body. Upon his arrival, he identified the body as his mother.”

Official confirmation of his identification, via blood tests, is now underway. The torrential rain across Oman since Friday has led to dozens of incidents and rescue operations, but little loss of life, thanks to emergency responders. Geographically, Wadi Bani Khalid is surrounded by wadis and mountains.

Since Friday, the governorates of Southern and Northern Sharqiyah have been experiencing varying degrees of rainfall, as a result of a low-pressure system over the sultanate which is predicted to end on Wednesday, Mar 22. In a single 24-hour period, the Sultanate received 334mm of rain.

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