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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Body of Emirati boy found off Kalba beach

The boy was swimming with his two friends when they began to drown in the high waves

The body of an Emirati teenager was found on Sunday after he went missing while swimming off the coast of Sharjah.

Fourteen-year-old boy Hamad Al Marashdieh was swimming with two friends, aged 13 and 15, near Kalba beach on Saturday when they began to struggle in the high waves.

A group of fishermen heard rescue calls and drove out to help the drowning boys.

Saeed Al Zaabi said he was was unloading his boat after a fishing trip when he heard the calls near Khor Kalba port

"It was already dark and I heard them calling for help and immediately informed the fishermen who were nearby to come and help," he said.

The fishermen rescued the two friends – also Emirati - but could not find the third boy.

"One of the boys was already drowning and the other was about to drown when we reached them, we called the police and coast guards to send help and they were transferred to the hospital," he said.

"Fishermen dived to find the third boy but the tide was strong and it was very dark, it's an unfortunate incident and they were young to swim alone in such a late hour," Mr Al Zaabi said.

Police were alerted to the incident at 6.40pm.

“We received a report stating that three UAE citizens were drowning in Kalba water, two had been rescued by a nearby fishing boat and one is still missing,” said Col Mohammed Al Obed, director of the Eastern Region Police Department

“Police patrols, National ambulance and coastguard rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the site to search for the missing boy,” he said.

The two rescued boys were transferred to Kalba Hospital and were later discharged.

Hamad's body was found on Sunday morning after having been missing for 12 hours.

His funeral was held at Al Hisn Mosque in Kalba after Dhuhr prayers at around midday. He was buried in Kalba Cemetery.

Col Al Obed urged parents not to allow children to swim unsupervised.

Mohammed bin Shamil, deputy director of Kalba Fishermen Association, said the association had distributed warning signs near the Khor to deter people from swimming and fishing in the area.

"It's quite dangerous to swim near the port due to the strong current and fishing boats entering and exiting the port," said Mr Bin Shamil.

He said lifeguards were essential to prevent such accidents.

"This tragic incident could have been avoided if there was someone supervising the area as swimming in such areas is risky and considered unsafe not only for kids but also for grown-ups," he said.

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