x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Boy needs face-reform surgery after jet ski accident, Dubai court told

The American boy was hit in the face by the jet ski, which did not stop, and had to be towed back to the boat by his friend.

DUBAI // A 10-year-old boy needed surgery to reform the left side of his face after being hit by a jet ski, a court heard recently.

Prosecutors said DA, from the US, had fallen into the water off Al Mamzar beach while playing on an inflatable tube being towed by his friend's family yacht in June 2011 when the jet ski approached and ploughed into him.

The American boy was hit in the face by the jet ski, which did not stop, and had to be towed back to the boat by his friend PM, 13, from Holland.

The friend and his father, JP, a pilot, 46, fished the heavily bleeding child out of the water and called an ambulance.

"The boy was struggling to swim and the life jacket kept him floating until my son pulled him towards my boat and I pulled him up," said the friend's father.

He said that the jet skier sped off but returned briefly. "He raised his hands and covered his face in a gesture indicating that a grave mishap had happened," said the father.

The jet skier then left once more before the medics arrived.

The boy was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Rashid Hospital where he received treatment to the 15cm long wound along the left side of his face. He suffered multiple fractures caused to his left cheek and eye socket and had a metal plate inserted in an effort to help reform his face.

Following the surgery the child was still unable to close his left eye normally and could open his mouth no more than two-and-a-half centimetres.

The boy also flew to America for further surgery to reform his face and, according to medics, will require more such surgeries in the future.

Sharjah Police arrested MA, a 23-year-old Emirati policeman from Dubai, and his cousin, as they headed towards the emirate with a jet ski attached to their Nissan Patrol.

They were both charged with mistakenly injuring the child and with violating regulations governing sea vessels by not registering the jet ski.

During prosecution interrogations the policeman denied the charges, claiming he had not entered Dubai waters, but admitted using the jet ski nearby, in Sharjah waters.

"I'm only guilty for violating regulations regarding the jet ski," said the policeman, according to prosecution records. "When my cousin and I were in the sea, we reached the Dubai side and saw many coastguard patrols. I thought the shore must have been shutdown for some reason and told my cousin we should return to Sharjah waters."

During the Misdemeanours Court hearing on January 7 this year, the policeman was not present, though his cousin arrived with a lawyer.

The case was adjourned till January 28 to summon the policeman.

salamir@thenational.ae