Bin Laden’s Mother, Sister Die In Plane Crash | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bin Laden’s Mother, Sister Die In Plane Crash

Posted: Aug 2, 2015 at 12:19 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Members of Osama bin Laden’s family were among four people killed on Saturday when a private jet crashed on approach to Blackbushe airport in Hampshire, reports Sky News.

The UK Metropolitan Police have confirmed the crash.

Saudi media reports have suggested the victims were former al Qaeda leader bin Laden’s mother, his sister, Sanaa, the sister’s husband, Zuhair Hashem, and a Jordanian pilot.

The plane was owned by Salem Aviation, a company that is part of the bin Laden conglomerate based in Jeddah.

In a statement, Hampshire Constabulary said: “We do believe three of the deceased to be the mother, sister and brother-in-law of the owner of the aircraft, all of whom are from the bin Laden family, but formal post-mortem examinations are ongoing.

“They were Saudi Arabian nationals and visiting the UK on vacation.”

Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud offered his condolences to the bin Laden family in a message posted on the Saudi Embassy’s official Twitter account.

It read: “His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, the ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the United Kingdom, offered his condolences to the sons of the late Mohammed bin Laden and their relations for the grave incident of the crash of the plane carrying members of the family at Blackbushe Airport.”

He did not confirm the identity of the victims.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said it sent 24 firefighters to the scene following the crash.

A spokesman for the Hampshire Fire Service said crews were notified at 3.10pm on Friday. Firefighters from Rushmoor Fire Station and Hartley Wintney were also involved.

The incident is not thought to being treated as a terror attack.

The bin Laden family is a prominent Saudi Arabian clan with global business interests.

The Saudi Embassy said it is working with British authorities to investigate the incident and to ensure the handover of the bodies for funerals and burials in Saudi Arabia.

Police have confirmed that three passengers and the pilot died when the plane crashed-landed at a car auction site around 3pm on Friday and burst into flames.

One witness said the jet resembled a missile as it came “flying down”.

No one on the ground was injured.

The Saudi-registered Phenom 300 jet had flown to the UK from Milan in Italy. A joint investigation with the Air Accidents and Investigation (AAIB) Brand is under way.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are in contact with the Saudi Arabian authorities following the air crash in Hampshire on 31 July, including to offer advice on repatriation.”

Andrew Thomas, who was paying for a car at the time of the crash, said it was an “aggressive fire” and there was “explosion after explosion”.

He said: “I could see one of the wings sticking up and it was in flames and four, five cars around it were all in flames.

“That soon spread. After 10 or 12 minutes the fire brigade got there and managed to get on top of it quickly, which was fortunate because at one stage it felt like the fire was going to rip across the whole car park.”

Barry Wright, who was in an office close to the crash site, told BBC’s Today programme: “It was as though a missile had come flying down. It was the sound of what you hear in the movies, followed by a huge bang and then followed by an explosion.

“There was instantly smoke coming up and then there was small flames from the top of the aircraft, and then literally it went into a ball of flames within a minute.”

The A30, which backs on to the airport, was closed following the incident and motorists have been asked to avoid the area.

Robert Belcher, a local aviation enthusiast, said he was driving home when he saw black smoke billowing from the site.

“I could see the plume of smoke waving from about five miles away and was hoping it was just a car fire rather than an aircraft accident.”

He added: “Apparently the aircraft was landing and just didn’t stop. At the end of the runway there is a car park because the airport is used for car auctions and it’s gone into there.”

An airport spokesman said: “Blackbushe Airport confirmed that a Phenom 300 Jet with four persons on board crashed near the end of the runway around 3.09pm while attempting to make a landing.”

Osama bin Laden comes from a very large, wealthy family. Mohammed bin Laden, Osama’s father, founded the multibillion Binladen Group, a sprawling construction conglomerate awarded many major building contracts in the Sunni kingdom.

He had nearly two dozen wives and a total of 54 children, journalist Craig Unger, who researched the bin Laden family for his book “House of Bush, House of Saud” told NBC News in 2004. Yet this isn’t the first time the family has lost members in a fatal plane crash.

Osama’s father died in a plane crash in Saudi Arabia on September 3, 1967. One of his sons, Salem, was killed in 1988 after his ultra light aircraft flew into power lines in San Antonio, Texas, reports the Associated Press.

The Bin Laden family disowned Osama in 1994 after Saudi Arabia renounced his citizenship over his militant activities. The former Al Qaeda leader died in Pakistan at the hands of U.S. Special Forces in 2011.

The Bin Laden family image is very different in Saudi Arabia compared to the West.

In Saudi Arabia, they are known as philanthropists and as successful business people that have been in the country since 1910, when the father, Mohammed Bin Laden, from Yeoman, first arrived.

He started a large construction empire which still operates today.

The connection between the wider clan and Osama Bin Laden is very distant, even non-existent, since the 911 attacks.

A large part of the Bin Laden clan is living in the West, mainly in the United States, including in Boston.

So, it wouldn’t be surprising to see other members of this family traveling all over Europe.