Couple dies of thirst in Saudi desert


The wreckage of a Morrocan tank is pictured near the Western Sahara village of Tifariti. Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony which was annexed in 1975 by Morocco. The Polisario Front, backed by Algeria, wants independence for the territory on the west African coast.


Dominique Faget

A husband and wife from Qatar have died of thirst after their vehicle overturned in Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter desert.

Security forces had undertaken a major operation to try to find the pair after a relative raised concern.

Spokesman for the General Command of Security Aviation Major Bandar Al-Thaqeel said the couple ran out of water after their accident.

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The woman was found near the overturned vehicle and a helicopter that was part of the search found her husband about six miles away. He was thought to have left his wife behind while attempting to find help or water in the vast desert, which has temperatures that rise well above 50 degrees Celsius.

The couple's bodies were transported to the Ahsa airport in the Eastern Province upon the request of relatives.

The Empty Quarter, known as Rub Al-Khali in Arabic, is one of the world's largest deserts, taking up a fifth of the Arabian Peninsula. It has sand dunes as tall as high-rise buildings and lost oasis cities are believed to be buried under its sand.

Reports say that the husband and wife were driving from an estate they owned in the desert when the accident occurred.