Two members of Saudia Airlines flight crew have been confirmed as being among the 31 foreign nationals who died in coordinated suicide bombings in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning. The two Saudi nationals have been named as Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman and were both members of cabin crew the governement-owned airline.
The Saudia crew were said to be staying at The Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo – one of eight hotels and churches that were targeted in the Easter Sunday attack that has left at least 310 people dead and upwards of 500 more injured. The Sri Lankan government has blamed a local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) for the barbaric attack.
A third member of Saudia crew, a female flight attendant was badly injured in the attack and is currently being treated in hospital. Saudi Arabian media reported a distress message the flight attendant sent after the attack which read:
“…The guys are dead in the restaurant, please help me, call an ambulance…”
All other Saudi flight crews staying in the country are said to be safe, with some crew who had just arrived in the country thankfully staying at another hotel which was not targeted in the terror attack.
The Director General of Saudia Airlines, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser today confirmed the death of the two cabin crew members in an internal message sent to staff. Mohammed Jafar had worked for the airline for 25 years and was a Cabin Manager while Hany Osman had joined Saudia two years ago as a Steward. Al-Jasser described Jafar as an “example of devotion, loyalty, and diligence”. Osman was said to be a “talented young man” who was eager to perform his duties.
— مركز الاتصال (@svmedia_center) April 21, 2019
In a statement the airline posted to its Twitter account on Sunday afternoon, officials confirmed that crew members were unaccounted for. Flight crews working for a number of other airlines who stay in Colombo were said to be unharmed in the coordinated and near-simultaneous bomb attacks.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.