DUBAI // A fire gutted two shipping vessels in Deira Creek yesterday, leaving one man dead and four injured.
The dead man jumped into the water to escape the flames and was killed by his ship's propeller. One of the ships is registered in Iran, and the other in Somalia.
"All the [six] men aboard the Iranian ship had jumped into the water, along with one man from the Al Aziz," said Major Juma bin Darwish, the director of the Dubai Police's rescue department. "The man who was killed was from the Iranian boat. He had jumped away from the fire while the propeller was running and was cut in half."
Rescue personnel located part of the dead man's torso a kilometre downstream from where the incident took place, but were still searching for the other half of his body four hours after the fire broke out.
"It appears that he jumped in the water not realising that the engine had been started," Major Darwish said. "We pulled him out of the water and had a member of the Iranian boat's crew identify him."
Civil defence personnel and officers from the police rescue team responded to the fire yesterday just before 5pm to find the boats burning in the middle of the creek.
"A passing police patrol saw the smoke and notified dispatch that two boats in the water were on fire," said Major Darwish. "We had rescue boats pluck the men from the water immediately and tow the boats to shore to fight the fire."
The fire broke out on the Iranian boat and spread to the Al Aziz, the Somali boat, which has a crew of 10 and was carrying about 15 vehicles. The vessels were moored next to one another in the creek, across from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Deira.
The Al Aziz was bound for Somalia with a cargo of vehicles, batteries, flour and other foodstuffs. The second boat was not carrying cargo.
Civil Defence personnel battled the blaze until after 7pm, with the fire reigniting due to fuel in the vehicles it was hauling.
More than three dozen firemen, seven fire tankers, an incident command vehicle and four ambulances responded to the incident. The cause of the fire has not been determined.