x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Boy hanged himself 'by accident'

A 12-year-old boy who was playing with a karate belt after school accidentally hanged himself before his parents could get home from work.

SHARJAH // A boy of 12 is believed to have hanged himself in his Sharjah home while playing with a karate belt.

Daniel Baby, a Grade V1 Indian national, was home alone after returning from school on Sunday when the accident occurred.

His grieving parents said they believed he was standing on a chair and playing with his belt, attempting to swing from it.

When he jumped, the knotted end of the belt got tangled on the door knob, wrapped around his neck, pulled him backward, and strangled him. The family said they think he was imitating a superhero, and the belt may have been used as a substitute for a cape.

Sharjah Police were investigating the boy’s death.

“He was trying some karate tricks,” said Baby Kuriakose, Daniel’s father. “The belt got stuck around his neck accidentally. We are not sure exactly how it happened.”

He said he last spoke to his son at 2pm, the time the boy usually returns from school.

“I ring him every day to check on him,” said Mr Kuriakose, who was working in Dubai at the time of the accident. “On Sunday, I rang him and asked him to let my sister, who lives upstairs, know that he is back from school. I then asked him to lock the door and wait for his mother, who usually returns home by 2.30.”

When there was no answer to the doorbell, the anxious mother, who is a nurse in a different school from the one that her son attended, sought the help of a passer-by to break open the door. She found her son hanging from the door with the belt around his neck.

“She immediately rushed him to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead,” Mr Kuriakose said.

He said the family had started leaving the boy unattended from this school year, as they thought he was old enough to be on his own. Describing his son as a playful and happy child, he said that because of Daniel’s love for superheroes, he was always jumping from chairs and swinging from belts.

Daniel’s death left his school shocked.

“The child was happy when he left school that afternoon,” said Vandana Marwaha, the principal of the Delhi Private School, Sharjah. “The mother was back home within 20 minutes. It was just a stray, freak accident and it is very sad.

“Parents have to consciously find out and be aware what their children are doing in their absence. Most parents usually do that or have a stand-by arrangement,” she said.

The family is waiting for the body to be released from the mortuary, after which they plan to return to India for cremation.

pkannan@thenational.ae

*With additional reporting by Yasin Kakande