Doha: Qatar’s former emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani has broken a leg while on holiday, government officials said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement confirmed that the former ruler, known formally as the “Father Emir” in Qatar, had been flown to Switzerland for emergency treatment following the incident at the weekend.
“On Saturday 26 December, His Highness the Father Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani was flown to Zurich, Switzerland for emergency treatment after suffering a broken leg while on holiday,” read the government statement.
“Following a successful operation, His Highness the Father Emir is currently in Zurich recovering and undergoing physiotherapy treatment.”
The ruling family were thought to be holidaying at a Moroccan resort in the Atlas Mountains, although it is unclear how he broke his leg.
The injury was also confirmed by one of the former emir’s sons, Shaikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani, on social media.
“For anyone who’s asking about the father Emir, he’s good and well, praise God,” tweeted Shaikh Joaan.
“He broke his leg and had surgery and now is in the physical therapy phase ... thanks for asking.”
Official state media, the Qatar News Agency, also reported that the current emir, Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, had received a phone call on December 27 from Morocco’s King Mohammad VI and discussed “issues of common concern”.
It was reported on Monday that as many as nine planes belonging to Qatar’s ruling family had landed in Switzerland over the weekend because of a suspected health emergency.
Swiss civil aviation authorities confirmed that a number of planes from the Qatari ruling fleet had made unscheduled landings at the Zurich-Kloten airport.
According to Zurich’s Tages Anzeiger newspaper, the first Qatari plane, an Airbus, landed from Marrakesh shortly after midnight on December 26.
A second flight landed at Zurich-Kloten at 5am the same day, with a third plane coming 15 minutes later, both having originated in Doha, the paper reported.
According to Tages Anzeiger, the medical emergency in question was so significant that six more planes linked to the Qatari ruling family and government landed in Zurich through the weekend.
A Swiss foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday that members of the Qatari ruling family were staying in the country, but gave no further details.
Shaikh Hamad, who celebrates his 64th birthday on January 1, ruled Qatar from 1995 to 2013, overseeing its transformation into one of the richest countries of the world.
He stepped down from power in June 2013 when he announced in a televised address he would hand power to his son and current ruler.