Holiday turns tragic in UAE as father, daughter drown off beach

Dhanusha Gokulan and Afkar Abdullah/Sharjah
Filed on November 26, 2020

Man had jumped into the water to rescue five children.

An Indian family’s long-awaited holiday took a tragic turn after a 47-year-old father and his 18-year-old daughter drowned off Al Heera Beach near the Sharjah-Ajman border on Wednesday, Khaleej Times has learnt.

Sources said Kerala-native Ismayil Thazhe Chandamkandiyil jumped into the water in a bid to rescue five children, including his brother’s kids and two of his daughters, who were struggling in the rough waters.

While he was able to rescue all other children and one of his daughters, the father of three jumped back a second time to rescue the older girl.

“Unfortunately, he and his older daughter, Amal Ismayil, wasn’t able to make it out alive,” said Samad Kodumayil, a Sharjah–based PRO and Ismayil’s uncle.

“The family had gone out to the new beach to enjoy a swim. Some of the children were playing in the water while Ismayil’s wife, sister-in-law, and some smaller kids were sitting on the shore,” he added.

The incident took place at 4.30pm on Wednesday. Family members alerted the police authorities who immediately sent out a rescue team to find the father and daughter.

“Within 30 minutes, their bodies had re-surfaced in the same area where they had drowned,” said Kodumayil.

Rescue operations

The Sharjah Police have confirmed the incident to Khaleej Times. Police officials said they received a call in their operations room on Wednesday evening, reporting that two beachgoers had drowned.

“A team, comprising officers from the rescue unit, patrols, national ambulance, and coast guard, reached the site in less than five minutes,” an official told Khaleej Times.

“The team launched a search operation and the bodies were recovered from the Sharjah-Ajman border. They tried to revive the father but he was declared dead a few minutes later. An intensified search continued to recover the body of the 18-year-old girl.”

3-month holiday planned

The entire family is in a state of shock. Ismayil, an employee of the RTA and a long-time resident of Dubai, flew his family from Kerala for a three-month holiday in the emirate, said Kodumayil.

“He got his family here on a visit visa only a week ago,” he added. Ismayil is survived by his wife and two daughters, aged 14 and 8.

The family hails from Baluserry in the Kozhikode district of Kerala. According to Kodumayil, Ismayil’s family used to live with him in the UAE, until he sent them back home a year and a half ago. His wife previously worked as a teacher in the country.

“They went back to Kerala because all his daughters were studying there,” he added.

The family has been arranging the repatriation of Ismayil’s and Amal’s remains.

“Their bodies were moved to the Kuwaiti Hospital morgue in Sharjah. We have received a Covid-19 negative report from the hospital, and we are now awaiting the forensic report and other documents to go ahead with the repatriation procedure.” explained social worker Naseer, who is helping Kodumayil with the case.

Beachgoers urged to take caution

Since the winter season started, the Sharjah Police have been reminding beachgoers to be extra careful in venturing out into the water. A team has been deployed to monitor the sea conditions.

The authorities have warned swimmers against going to dangerous areas with strong water currents.

“Such accidents are likely to increase because the sea is rough during this time of the year. Signboards warning beachgoers of strong waves have been installed in various parts of the beach,” a senior official said.

However, a number of beachgoers do not follow instructions and never check the weather forecast to learn about the condition of the sea, he added.

The Sharjah Police have launched an awareness campaign for beachgoers in an effort to prevent such accidents.


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