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25 February 2024

Search for Adel goes viral: Friends rally to Algerian diver missing off Dubai

By Sneha May Francis

Friends of missing Algerian diver Adel Ait-Ghezala, aged 35, have launched a massive social media campaign to mobilise rescue operations.

Image of Adel wearing the same wet suit he wore when he went missing. (Supplied)

Adel, an American University PhD student, had gone diving off Dubai with three friends and his wife Rana on January 1 around 4pm. He was equipped with a wet suit, fins, a speargun and a snorkel, but no tank.

Adel’s best friend Abdullah Al-Arian has flown in from Doha to be with his family during this trying time.

Speaking to Emirates24|7, he said, “I am here to help support the family and help coordinate the rescue operations. And, I am here to do everything to help.”

He added that the officials are currently doing everything to help in the rescue operations.

“I’m confident with the efforts and the officials are doing everything to help us.”

Abdullah added that they are seeking assistance from diving experts as well. “We want as many volunteers to come help out. It’s a big ocean and we need as many people to contribute.”

The support so far, he claimed, has been overwhelming.

“Whether it is financial assistance or resources, people from all over the world have contributed. People who knew him and even those who didn’t have all stepped up to help. In that sense, Adel has united many lives.”

He informed that there are diving experts who have flown in specially to help out.

Abdullah recalled that he was not in Dubai when the unfortunate incident happened. “I was in Doha but came here to be with his family.”

Adel, who lives in the US, is an expert diver and has frequented this region before.

“He grew up in Oman, and comes here during his holidays. He has tremendous experience in these waters,” Abdullah added.

He and the family is staying hopeful. “The uncertainty is obviously painful. But, we have to stay positive and hopeful and do whatever it takes.”

A webpage set up to gather funds for the rescue operations has raised “$55,000 in two days!”

“If we don't act today, we may lose our friend. Please help us save Adel Ait-Ghezala by supporting however you can,” a post read on the page.

If not for donations, his friends have urged the public to help provide “access to any other resources that can aid in the search, such as access to boats, divers, air support, or other support services”.

The funds generated from the drive will go towards mobilising rescue operations.

“Every dollar you give will go towards bringing Adel home, so keep giving & keep telling your friends!”

The Facebook campaign ‘Adel Ait-Ghezala Rescue Effort’ and twitter drive #HELPFINDADEL have both garnered immense response on the social media circuit.

“Adel Ait-Ghezala went missing 30km off the coast of Dubai while diving on Wednesday, January 1,” read a flyer that was posted online.

“Needs: 1. People to contact governments for expanded searches, 2. Donations for private searches, 3. Keep home alive, share this picture and the information”.

The Facebook page has 1,610 followers so far, and regular updates about the rescue operations are posted.

On Twitter, Adel’s friends are working towards gathering any information about him.

“Adel Ait-Ghezala is a friend of a friend of mine. Please RT, share info with people in #Dubai to #HelpFindAdel https://igg.me/at/helpfindadel,” wrote a friend.

“Twitter your help is needed to #HelpFindAdel lost at sea while diving off the coast of Dubai info at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-find-adel-ait-ghezala … PLEASE retweet!”

The Dubai Police, along with the UAE Coast Guards, have been working consistently towards finding Adel. Marine and air rescue teams have been conducting searches since January 1.