x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Body of drowned Emirati teenager to be flown to Al Ain

19-year-old Ahmed Saeed Al Badi's body was recovered from the sea in Oman by a police helicopter.

MUSCAT // The body of an Emirati teenager who drowned two weeks ago in the southern Omani resort of Salalah was flown home to Al Ain yesterday.

Ahmed Saeed Al Badi, 19, went missing while swimming on September 2. His body was recovered from the sea last Thursday.

Ahmed and his elder brothers, Yusuf and Ibrahim, were swimming with two friends off Al Mughsayl beach resort in Salalah, 1,000 kilometres from Muscat, when they got into difficulties.

A member of the public called rescue services after spotting their distress and the coastguard managed to rescue Ibrahim and the two friends.

Yusuf's body was recovered the same day, but rescuers were unable to find Ahmed.

"They were drifting to the open sea when our boat rescued them," police said. "It looks like Ahmed and Yusuf could not swim and that's why they drowned.

"Ahmed's body was badly decomposed because he was in the water too long. We got a DNA sample from a member of his family to help make identification."

The area where the men drowned is popular with Emirati tourists.

Its main attractions are blow holes along the coast, where plumes of water erupt every few seconds to a height of more than 20 metres.

About 250,000 Emiratis visit Salalah annually, which enjoys mild weather throughout the year.

About 25 per cent of them make the long drive, a trip that can prove deadly in itself because of the frequency of road accidents in Oman's southern region.

On August 29, seven members of the same family from Al Ain died in a road accident in Salalah after a lorry ploughed into their car.

Two days later, an Emirati woman and her Ethiopian maid died in another traffic accident in the same city.

Oman has a poor road-safety record. More than 4,000 accidents were registered in the first six months of 2012, up 14.7 per cent on the same period last year.

During that period, 539 people died on the roads, up 20.3 per cent from the first six months of 2011.