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No trace of Bahraini pilot or F-16 wreckage

September 30, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Teams from the Bahrain army and the US Navy have failed to locate the body of a Bahraini pilot whose F-16 crashed at sea on Saturday.
A statement, carried by the Bahrain news agency (BNA), said yesterday His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was "personally following the strenuous efforts of the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) and a number of friendly forces in the search operation of the missing Bahraini fighter jet."

Bahraini, American and Australian rescue teams have been involved in patrols to the north of Bahrain where the F-16 vanished from radar screens on Saturday night.

However, the search has failed to recover the body of the pilot, Royal Air Force Colonel Abdul Aziz Senan Al Doussary, nor the plane's wreckage.

Al Doussary "seems to have plunged to his death" when his single-pilot plane crashed in the Arabian Gulf, some 46 miles north of Bahrain, Gulf News learned.

The incident took place during a night training mission involving another plane, which has returned safely to its base, a source said, adding that Col Senan was apparently performing "a new manoeuvre" when the plane crashed.

This is the first fighter jet crash ever in Bahrain.