Last October, when we first read about the crash of a business jet on take off in Russia's Vnukovo airport, we didn't think much about it, until a few hours later it was revealed that the main passenger on the plane was none other than Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Europe's second largest oil producer, Total. Margerie had risen quickly to prominence in geopolitical circles three months earlier when in July 2014 he uttered the heretical phrase: "There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars", suggesting that the Petrodollar's reign at the top of global reserve currencies was coming to an end.
Three months later the CEO died on takeoff.
Likewise yesterday morning when we read reports that a 2010 Embraer Phenom 300 private jet, with a Saudi Registration HZ-IBN, crashed at a car auction site in Hampshire, we didn't think much of it.
The jet was attempting to land at Blackbushe Airport near London when it crashed on to dozens of cars and burst into flames on Friday afternoon.
As reported by RT, Daphne Knowles, 70, told local reporters he was in a field with cattle when he heard an aircraft “coming very, very fast from behind me.” “Two people said they thought it had to swerve to miss another aircraft as it went in, but I didn’t see that myself and can’t confirm, then there was a huge black cloud of smoke which went up.” Knowles said it appeared the aircraft “tried to land at Blackbushe having travelled northwards.”
Small plane crashed into car auction at Blackbushe airport pic.twitter.com/lxHLF76WIf— Nathan Greenwood (@NathanGFilm) July 31, 2015
Just like one year ago, the reason for the importance of the crash was made apparent only hours later.
Very sad people died please remember that and im not interested in selling rights its not right please no more offers pic.twitter.com/7UafZDqNdH— Tubman Thomas (@tubman89) July 31, 2015
Shortly after the crash, reports in UK media outlets, including the Daily Mail and Mirror, alleged that the $11 million jet was owned by Jeddah-based Salem Aviation, a company named after Osama bin Laden’s elder cousin, who himself was an amateur pilot and died in a plane crash. Among the other casualties: Osama bin Laden's sister and stepmother.
And indeed, the FT itself confirmed that on board the plane at the time of the crash were relatives of none other than al-Qaeda founder, Osama bin Laden. "Saudi ambassador to the UK, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, offered his condolences to the large and wealthy Bin Laden family, who own a major construction company in Saudi Arabia."
The statement, translated by the BBC, said: “His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud . . . has paid his condolences to the family and relatives of Mohammed bin Laden at Blackbushe Airport in Britain for the great loss they have suffered as a result of the crash of the plane that was carrying the family.”
The Saudi Embassy in London also confirmed the identities of the two notable passengers:
The Phenom was reportedly returning from Milan and was attempting to land when it crashed. Blackbushe Airport issued a statement that the plane had crashed at the end of the runway while landing.
What is especially curious is that the jet’s registration number, HZ-IBN, was used by Osama bin Laden’s father, Mohammed. who was also a victim of an aircraft accident, and used the same ID when he crashed in a small Beechcraft plane in 1967.
The family is believed to have retained the number, and now there have been two fatal airplane crashes with the identical registration number, resulting in the death of even more family members of Osama bin Laden whose official death took place, according to the US government in 2011 when he was killed by US special forces in Pakistan's Abbottabad. Many members of the special forces team subsequently died under strange circumstances themselves.
We are confident many will be curious to learn the reasons for the crash and the contents of the black box, whose unsealing we hope will be less of a tainted political farce than what happened one year ago with the "black box" discovery of the tragic MH-17 flight over east Ukraine.