x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dubai journalist killed in Seychelles boat accident

A radio journalist with the Dubai Eye station has been killed and a British colleague injured in a boat accident in Seychelles.

Rebecca Davidson, 35, deputy head of programming and news at Dubai Eye, died after her boat collided with another vessel at 9.30pm in the channel between the main island of Mahe and Sainte Anne Island. Courtesy Dubai Eye
Rebecca Davidson, 35, deputy head of programming and news at Dubai Eye, died after her boat collided with another vessel at 9.30pm in the channel between the main island of Mahe and Sainte Anne Island. Courtesy Dubai Eye

DUBAI// A radio journalist with the Dubai Eye station has been killed and a British colleague injured in a boat accident in Seychelles.

Rebecca Davidson, 35, deputy head of programming and news at Dubai Eye, died after her boat collided with another vessel at 9.30pm in the channel between the main island of Mahe and Sainte Anne Island.

Ms Davidson, from New Zealand, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Seychelles Hospital. Her colleague, Lucy Taylor, a news editor at the station, was injured. The station said the Briton's condition was stable. The two journalists were on a press trip to cover the third Seychelles annual carnival. Three other people were on the same boat and were treated for injuries.

Steve Smith, chief operating officer at Arabian Radio Network (ARN), which owns Dubai Eye, said: "This is terrible news. They were on a standard press trip. Both were involved in the accident. Unfortunately, Rebecca was killed. Lucy, although injured, is doing okay. We have been in touch with her."

Mr Smith said the station had been informed of the accident last night and they had notified the families of the two women. He said details of whether Ms Davidson's body would be flown to Dubai or her home country were still being worked out.

Ms Davidson has worked for Dubai Eye for two years, while Ms Taylor has been with them for more than two years.

A statement from ARN said: "Rebecca was a wonderful individual who was full of life, admired hugely by her colleagues and well loved by all who knew her. Rebecca was on a press trip to the Seychelles to gather stories for the station in her own unique and innovative style."

Mahmoud al Rasheed, ARN General Manager, said “We are one family at ARN and all of us would like to send our condolences to the family of Rebecca. She will be greatly missed by the entire team at ARN.”

The Seychelles ministry for tourism said: "A boat travelling to Sainte Anne Island with five foreign visitors and staff of the island resort collided with another boat coming from Cerf Island en route to Mahe with only the skipper onboard, which resulted in a serious accident."

The statement said Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration had begun an investigation to find out the exact cause of the accident. Simultaneously, Seychelles police have also launched an investigation into the incident.

"It is deeply regrettable that this tragedy has taken place, and we are ensuring that a full investigation is carried out", said Joel Morgan, the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport. "The safety of passengers using ferries between the islands is of paramount importance for our islands, and such accidents are rare.

"The investigation will reveal the exact causes of the collision and will enable the authorities to take appropriate action."

The Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St. Ange, and Mr Morgan met with the four visitors at the Seychelles Hospital immediately following the accident to provide necessary support.

pkannan@thenational.ae