Dubai: 4-year-old girl back home for Christmas after freak treadmill accident

"She’s slowly coming back to the Naraya that we all love so much," her father Alex Broun said.

By Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:33 AM

Last updated: Thu 23 Dec 2021, 10:36 AM

A four-year-old girl, who suffered serious injuries after getting stuck in a treadmill in Dubai, is back home for Christmas.

Naraya Janet Broun spent one week at Rashid Hospital. She had been playing with a posture ball in a residential building's gym at Al Wasl Road. The ball approached a moving treadmill, got sucked under the belt and dragged the girl's hand all the way up to her neck.

Naraya is now making a full recovery back home after being discharged from the hospital's intensive care unit, where she was sedated for several days.

“She’s doing much better now. Naraya is a beautiful little girl who’s full of life and energy. There was a time where that was gone from us,” her father Alex Broun, an Australian playwright and screenwriter, told Khaleej Times.

The girl's parents had been worried the accident would leave her with permanent injuries. But Naraya is celebrating Christmas with a jolly spirit, special presents and plenty of food.

Her father said spending the festive season around her friends is helping speed up her recovery.

“Her friends came over last week, which seemed to have lifted up her spirits. She quickly shifted from being blue to laughing and jumping up and down in joy. She’s slowly coming back to the Naraya that we all love so much," Alex said.

As for Christmas plans, he said: "She will have a wonderful day that fits her big smile and social life-loving self. She will have her favourite food and some ice cream with her friends. We are also giving her a special present once she makes a complete recovery.”

Although Naraya’s bruises are fading, she will have a soft neck brace installed for the next few weeks and a final hospital check-up in January.

The girl’s parents are counting their blessings this Christmas, while slowly recovering from the haunting memory of the accident.

Alex had to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at one point when he realised his daughter was not breathing, largely playing a role in getting her back to life.

“I will never forget her face when I realized she was not breathing. Her head had dropped back, lips turned blue and face went white. This is a terrifying scene for any parent," Alex said.

"There was a time in the hospital where we did not know whether she will ever wake up. She was on a ventilator and had tubes coming out of her mouth, nose and neck. I’m just relieved and grateful that she survived," he added.

The spirit of Dubai

Alex, a resident of Dubai for 10 years, said he will forever remain grateful to his neighbour and the nearby supermarket staff who answered the call for help and dismantled the machine to get his daughter out after being stuck for about 15 minutes.

“The staff at the nearby Lulu Xpress were preparing to go home after the end of their shift, yet they rushed to our rescue without hesitation when they heard me screaming for help. They came to the gym and dismantled the treadmill with their tools, getting Naraya out in just two minutes," he said.

Alex added: "They are the real heroes of the situation. They saved Naraya’s life.”


He said the incident captured the true spirit of the city.

“The people who helped me come from different nationalities. As soon as they heard someone was in distress, they dropped everything and rushed to help without asking for anything in return. This is Dubai. It connects us all with our humanity,” Alex said.

Since Christmas is a celebration of giving, Alex said he will mark this season with gratitude for the community’s kindness and prayers.

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