Beirut explosion: Ministers join search for father found alive at sea after Beirut explosion

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Lebanese ministers have joined the efforts to locate Amine Al Zahid after the family said they still do not know the whereabouts of the father of two who the army said they had rescued at sea 30 hours after the Beirut explosion.

His 32-year-old brother Mohammed, speaking to The National by phone, said Amine had still not been found as of 9.30am on Friday and that coverage of his case had drawn the Lebanese government into the search effort.

“We have received several confirmations from officials that he is alive and has been saved. However we haven’t been told anything regarding his whereabouts,” he said, his voice stuttering.

“I have been in touch with the Health Ministry and I was told that three ministers are working closely with all pertinent authorities to locate Amine’s place.”

The manager of a company at Beirut's port is believed to have been thrown into the Mediterranean when 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded on Tuesday. The Lebanese government has blamed negligence for the explosion that has killed at least 149 people and left thousands injured.

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.

Amine, 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, locating him has proven difficult.

Mohammed said the family had not been able to find out anything about the nature of Amine’s injuries except what they saw in an image that surfaced on Thursday in which he is shown bloodied and lying injured on dry land next to a Lebanese military officer.

“Everybody confirms he is alive but we cannot track him down,” said the brother, who works in a Beirut car garage.

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

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

A woman stands inside a damaged restaurant. AP Photo

People and employees attend a mass over the victims who were killed in the blast, at the Al-Roum hospital at Ashrafieh area in Beirut. EPA

Workers are pictured at the devastated site of the explosion at the port of Beirut. EPA

A man sleeps near a damaged car near the site of Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area. REUTERS

Workers line at the devastated site of the explosion at the port of Beirut. EPA

French President Emmanuel Macron visits the devastated site of the explosion at the port of Beirut. EPA

People and employees attend a mass over the victims who were killed in the blast, at the Al-Roum hospital at Ashrafieh area in Beirut. EPA

A view of the port of Beirut on January 25, 2020, left, and on August 5, 2020, a day after the explosion. AFP

Bride Israa Seblani poses for a picture in the same place where she was taking her wedding photos at the moment of the explosion. Reuters

People stand with their belongings as they leave their damaged homes. Reuters

A Lebanese man shows injuries on his back after the massive explosion in Beirut. EPA

Men are seen sitting inside a damaged home, following Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area. Reuters

A pedestrian takes photos of a badly damaged building in Beirut. Bloomberg

Lebanese Druze clerics check damaged cars. AP Photo

A statue representing the Lebanese expatriate is seen in front of a building that was damaged by the explosion. AP Photo

People walk with their belongings in the area of Mar Mikhael and Gemayzeh. EPA

The curtains in the rooms of the Le Gray hotel in the Lebanese capital Beirut swaying in the wind. AFP

A view of a damaged Fransa Bank. EPA

People check damaged vehicles. EPA

Volunteers clean the streets amid the wreckage. Reuters

People carry belongings after evacuating their damaged housing units at area of Mar Mikhael and Gemayzeh. EPA

A destroyed Bank Audi SAL branch stands in Beirut. Bloomberg

A worker wearing a protective face mask stands at the entrance to a destroyed Fransabank SAL branch in Beirut. Bloomberg

Volunteers carry brooms as they walk to clean the streets. Reuters

A woman sits in front of a damaged building. EPA

A general view of the Beirut port area after the massive explosion. EPA

An aerial view shows the massive damage done to the Electricity of Lebanon building. AFP

A view of the damaged building of the Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad. EPA

Volunteers gather aid supplies to be distributed for those affected by Tuesday's blast. Reuters

Lebanese men clears rubble, one day after the explosion at the Beirut Port, in the Gemayzeh area. EPA

Lebanese youth salvage a velvet sofa from a destroyed apartment in the Gemayzeh area of Beirut. EPA

Lebanese activists take part in a campaign to clean the damaged neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael. AFP

An injured Lebanese shop owner sits at her desk selling her wares. EPA

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The family, including Amine’s two brothers and two sisters, and their friends have launched an anguished search for him, visiting every hospital in Beirut and outside the city in hopes of locating him. The National contacted Beirut’s largest hospitals but none had a record of him.

His case has attracted widespread attention on social media as the search continues.

Rescue workers are making desperate efforts to locate survivors and victims in the wreckage of the blast, which devastated half of the Lebanese capital.

At least four more bodies have been recovered in the last 24 hours.

The blast shredded a large grain silo at the port, devastated nearby neighbourhoods and left several city blocks littered with glass and rubble.

French and Russian rescue teams with dogs were searching the port area on Friday, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron paid a visit to the site, promising aid and vowing to press for reforms by Lebanon's long-entrenched political leaders.

Desperate for information, Mohammed has 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.

“Ten minutes prior to the explosion, he sent me a photo of the fire that preceded the explosion,” Mohammed told The National on Thursday.

The message was the last he heard from his brother.

Updated: August 7, 2020 04:29 PM

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