Video: Meet the man who rescued 25 families in his kayak when record rains hit UAE

Youssef Al Feel, along with his brothers and cousins, managed to break the windows and enter flooded houses — moving people to safety for an entire day


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Fri 26 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 28 Apr 2024, 4:12 PM

An Emirati man turned his hobby of kayaking into a rescue mission when torrential rains hit the UAE last week. Using his small kayak, Youssef Al Feel saved 25 families — including a pregnant woman.

A lover of all things sea and water sports, Youssef hurried to rescue families with his brothers when an overflowing valley flooded their area.

The first floors of all homes were underwater when Youssef decided to bring out his kayak. This helped him enter the houses and corridors to save a total of 25 families, including children, the elderly, and a pregnant woman in her ninth month.

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Speaking to Khaleej Times, he said: "At four in the morning after the valley flooded and entered the area, my brother called me to inform me of a woman seeking help to rescue her brother who couldn't swim and was standing atop his car,” he said. “Luckily, all the equipment was in my house, so we went to rescue him, and the car was completely submerged."

Watch the video below:

The first thing Youssef thought of was his kayak. Despite its small size and inability to accommodate many people at one time, it was the best solution for the rescue operation at that moment.

Photos: Screengrabs
Photos: Screengrabs

"I used the kayak despite the availability of a boat and a jet ski,” he said. “It helped me enter the houses. We helped housemaids, women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities whom we were trying to calm in that situation, as well as animals and birds."

Youssef, along with his brothers and cousins, managed to break the windows and enter the houses to evacuate people continuously without stopping for a whole day.

Youssef (centre) with his brothers
Youssef (centre) with his brothers

Youssef said: "When I entered the area in the early morning, everyone was cheering and applauding me from the windows, I felt an indescribable feeling." He added, "All of us, me, my brothers, the youth, the people, and the residents, we all united and cooperated."

Helping people, especially in times of crisis, is part of Emirati values, he said. “We didn't learn this alone, the love of goodness, sacrifice, and giving. We learned it from our leaders, may God protect them and protect the UAE."


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