Articles/The mystery behind the Catalina wreck

The mystery behind the Catalina wreck

السر الغامض وراء طائرة "كاتلينا"

07 FEB 2020


Source: Alaa Al-Bahrani

There are many stories about the American plane wreck Catalina, which has been at the Ras Al-Sheikh Hameed area in Tabuk for 57 years and has established itself as a popular tourist attraction. Questions have been raised about what brought the plane to the region and what happened to its passengers.

Wafy reveals the answers to these questions and the stories behind this mysterious plane.

Stories and secrets

Some people believe that Catalina was flying in the region during the Second World War, while others believe that the sea carried it to the area after it went down elsewhere. However, the real story, according to Lifetime magazine and author Hassan Omar Badukhon in his book “Median of History and Civilization”, is that the plane was owned by the US Air Force and sold to American businessman Thomas Kendall, who then converted it into a luxury seaplane. He decided to travel around the world with his family but the engine broke down during their travels, forcing them to land in Ras Al-Shaiekh Hameed near the Tiran Strait. Forced to spend the night close to the beach, Catalina’s pilot was able to call for help and the Saudi authorities moved quickly to rescue them and relocate them to Jeddah. The family liaised with the American consulate there and arrangements were made so they could return home.

About Ras Al-Sheikh Hameed

The Ras Al-Sheikh Hameed area is characterized by its marvelous beaches, crystal clear water and diversity of its coral reefs. It is popular with amateur fishermen and divers and the wreck area is considered an important tourist attraction to visit. The region is located between the beginning of the Gulf of Al-Aqaba and the end of the Red Sea near the Tiran Strait in Tabuk and has been inhabited by the Huwitat tribe. It was named after Al-Sheikh Hameed bin Omran bin Huwait, head of the Omran tribe. He was kind and generous and well known for his many visits to the area and support for the local people. After he died the sheikh was buried in the area.