x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Jet ski victim's family drops charges

Abdullah al Amiri's family says it will not press charges against the boy whose jet ski accidentally ran over him.

DUBAI // The family of the Emirati boy who died on Saturday in a jet ski tragedy near Dubai Marina dropped charges yesterday against a teenager who prosecutors say accidentally caused his death.

Chief Prosecutor Mohammad Rustom, of the Family and Juvenile Prosecutors office, said the family of the victim, Abdullah al Amiri, also waived their blood money rights against their son's friend, RQ, 17, a Syrian.

"They have dropped the charges and everyone at the juvenile prosecution extend our condolences to the family," Mr Rustom said.

Speaking to The National yesterday, Abdullah's friends said they were not doing anything unsafe at the time of the accident.

"We were all good swimmers, we have swam since we were very young and we did not see it important to wear the life jackets," said Nassir, 17, who did not give his last name but said he had known Abdullah for four years.

Although police listed Abdullah's age as 14, his friends said he turned 17 a few months ago.

RQ had known Abdullah for more than three years, said another friend, Sultan.

Nassir and Sultan were driving the jet ski pulling an inflatable tube carrying Abdullah and another friend, while RQ was driving behind them, the boys said.

"Sultan, who was driving the jet ski, slowed down and I turned back to see the guys when Abdullah jumped into the water without noticing RQ closing in from behind," Nassir said. "RQ tried to avoid hitting him and swerved with his jet ski after slowing down, but the right side of it hit Abdullah."

The two friends said he sank into the depths immediately after the impact, at 6.37pm.

A minute later, they managed to call a friend who called his uncle, a senior government official, telling him to call for help, both teenagers said. They added that they did not think it was a serious injury.

But soon after Abdullah did not rise to the surface, Nassir jumped in after him, diving down to search. Sultan and RQ were screaming for help, and said rules against jet skis meant they could not motor towards the shore for help.

They approached a yacht floating nearby and sought their help, but "they only gave us goggles and then left," Sultan said.

The jet skis were registered in the names of the young men's parents.

"Our families knew we were going skiing all together," Nassir said.

They said they were eager to support RQ after he was released.

"We will all be with him and talk him out of the condition he is in," Nassir said.

The Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), meanwhile, announced that jet skiing would not be allowed off any of Dubai's beaches except the Umm Suqeim fishing harbour off Umm Suqeim One.

Making the announcement on local radio, Nawfal al Jubrani, a spokesman for Dubai Maritime City, said violators would have their vehicles confiscated and registrations revoked.

"All users of jet skis should have life vests, helmets and goggles and follow the safety rules," Mr Jubrani said.

The DMCA was given jurisdiction over jet skis in the emirate last year. Enforcement is left to the Dubai Police Department.

salamir@thenational.ae

amustafa@thenational.ae