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A 4.5-year-old girl regained consciousness at Rashid hospital, where she was admitted after getting sucked into a treadmill while chasing a gym ball in a Dubai residential building.
Naraya Janet Broun was with her father at the building's gym in Al Wasl Road where she was playing with a posture ball near a moving treadmill.
Australian playwright and screenwriter Alex Broun, the girl's father, described the incident that took place on Thursday night, "The ball approached the treadmill, and instead of bouncing back, it got sucked under the treadmill. As Naraya tried to retrieve the ball her hands were dragged underneath the treadmill up until her neck, which got stuck at the back of the treadmill."
"I was standing 2-3 meters away. The whole incident happened in a fraction of seconds."
Struggling to pull the little girl out, her father noticed she was not breathing. It took 2-3 seconds to stop the treadmill, but Alex struggled to free his daughter, who was stuck between the iron bar, the ball and the treadmill.
"Her face was turning white, and lips were turning blue. I thought she was going to die," said Alex, a UAE resident for the last 10 years.
Naraya's breathing was recovered after Alex performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
"That's when I started screaming for help so loud that I think residents at Burj Khalifa [might have] heard me. I was trying to get her free from the treadmill and get her breathing back at the same time."
A friend eventually came out for help while Naraya was still stuck under the treadmill for about 15 minutes.
Both men lifted the treadmill together and, with the help of some security guards, managed to cut off the treadmill mat and puncture the ball with scissors to get the girl out.
Rushed in an ambulance to Rashid hospital, Naraya had to be sedated to stay still for a CT scan and remained sedated for long hours.
"Doctors were trying to know how long she has stayed without oxygen, but we could not know. The CT scan was inconclusive, but it showed she might have a little fracture in her neck," said Alex.
Alex Broun took to social media platforms to ask the community to pray for his daughter's recovery.
It was a great sigh of relief for the parents when Naraya regained her consciousness on Saturday morning.
She will remain under supervision in the ICU until she is completely stable.
"When she got sedated, we didn't know whether she would ever wake up. The thought was terrifying, and the last 36 hours were the worst in our life."
Naraya is now able to speak and play softly with her toys. "She had ice cream and juice. She is spending her time watching her favourite shows."
Alex added, "She loves holding us from our elbows, and I knew she was starting to be fine when she held on to my elbow when she woke up."
Once she's stable, Naraya is expected to move into the pediatric ward to stay for about one week.
Alex estimated it would take months for his daughter to recover completely. "Naraya is a very active and fun-loving child. She loves to laugh, play and have fun."
The father pleaded to the community to continue prayers for Naraya and answer any calls for help. "If you heard someone call for help, you must help them. If it was not for my friend who responded to my call, Naraya might not have been alive today."
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