Little Bonie laid to rest

Little Bonie will rest in peace in Dubai where he loved to live. The nine-year-old Indian boy, who died in a pool accident during his friend’s birthday celebrations on Tuesday, was laid to rest at the cemetery in Jebel Ali on Thursday evening.

Published: Fri 29 Jun 2012, 9:17 AM

Last updated: Wed 24 Nov 2021, 3:31 PM

Bonie Joseph Jr. was playing with his classmates and other children who had gone for the party at the birthday boy’s apartment in the New Gold Souq building in Bur Dubai when the tragedy took place at the rooftop swimming pool.

Emotions ran high during the boy’s funeral service at St. Francis Assisi Church where his mother Anisha sobbed uncontrollably and father Bonie Joseph struggled to fight back tears. However, what was going on seemed oblivious to Angelina, the boy’s four-year-old sister.

Nearly 200 people attended the service including the father of the birthday boy. Among the others present were a supervisor and a few teachers from Our Own High School, Al Warqa, where Joseph Jr. was a grade four student, and friends and colleagues of Joseph who works as a planning manager with Weir Oil and Gas Services in Jebel Ali.

Earlier on Thursday, Joseph told Khaleej Times that the family had decided to bury the child here because Bonie never wished the family to settle back in India.

“He came to Dubai when he was just three months. Whenever we talked about plans to go back and settle in India, he never liked it. He loved to live in Dubai. So we want him to rest here,” the grieving father said in a choking voice.

He said he did not wish the child’s grandparents in their hometown in the south Indian state of Kerala to see the body of their grandson. “They are all heartbroken. I don’t want them to see him like this ... let them remember him as a lovely boy that he was...”

Joseph said the police had told him that the case would continue when they gave the clearance to release the child’s body. “I don’t know what case and I didn’t ask either,” he said. -

‘I tried my best’

Bonnie Joseph Jr. would have remained a victim of near drowning had the nine-year-old received immediate medical care, says the mother of his classmate during whose birthday celebrations the tragedy took place on Tuesday.

She said she had tried her best to save Joseph Jr after she and three other boys pulled him out of the water.

One of the boys, also a classmate of Joseph Jr, said the accident happened in seconds. “He was playing in the big pool when I was in the baby pool with my sister. When I came out of the water I saw him jumping into the water. I didn’t see him for some time when I was wiping myself dry. Then I saw the water turning brownish there and Bonnie floating,” the child recollected.

The birthday boy’s mother said Joseph Jr was alive and vomiting when he was rescued.

“I was very much there, but I really didn’t see him drowning. He was playing and he was not in the deep waters. After some time I heard the children screaming that Bonie is floating.”

“He was breathing and his heart was beating when we took him out. I cleaned his mouth and nose and we pushed his stomach to bring out the water.”

Breaking down into tears several times while speaking to Khaleej Times, she said her sister, the sister’s maid and a couple of other women were also present at that time. “We called the gym trainer at the building for help and we did the maximum we could ... he was alive when the paramedics came. We thought we would save him. But it didn’t happen even after they gave him first aid and took him to the hospital.”

His classmate said Joseph Jr. had said he had forgotten to bring spare clothes for playing in the pool.

The woman said he had told her that he knew how to swim and he would take care of himself while at the pool. “Then he wore my husband’s half pants.”

She said she had taken good care of all the children and had told all of them to get their parents’ permission to play in the pool in the apartment where her family had moved in about two months back.

“It was not a birthday bash, not even a big party. It was just a small get together of my son’s friends for his birthday. Unfortunately this tragedy took place. Nobody ever imagined such a thing would happen. I’m shattered and my son is still in trauma. He can’t eat, he can’t sleep ... he is having nightmares. Bonnie was his best friend and for me he was like my son. It’s a huge loss for me also and I really don’t how we will live with this grief.”

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