x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Jetski accident victim's body found near Palm Jumeirah

Fourteen-year-old boy fell off a raft and was hit by a friend on a personal watercraft, police say.

DUBAI // The body of a 14-year-old Emirati boy was found yesterday, more than 38 hours after going missing following a jetski accident near the Dubai Marina, police said.

Abdullah al Amiri was killed when he was struck by a jet ski his friend was riding near the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi hotel on Saturday afternoon, police said. The boy's body was found at 8.40am near the Royal Mirage Hotel off the Palm Jumeirah.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the family," said Dubai Police Chief Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim.

According to Lt Colonel Abdullah al Mazyood, Director of the Dubai Ports Police station, Abdullah was at the beach on Saturday with four friends, ages 14 to 17. He and his friends went out on the water, and two friends on a jet ski dragged him and another boy in a raft about one metre in diameter.

A fifth boy followed them in another jet ski, zooming close to them and doing tricks, police say.

A wave then hit the raft, knocking Abdullah and the other boy into the water. The jet ski behind them then struck Abdullah in the head, police say.

According to Lt Col al Mazyood, none of the boys was wearing a life jacket.

All users of jet skis must have a life vest, helmet, fire extinguisher, emergency whistle and goggles on hand at all times, according to government regulations.

The teenager who hit Abdullah has been referred to Family and Juvenile Prosecution on accidental death charges. He is currently in detention but will likely be released within a day or so, police said.

The director of Dubai Police Rescue Operations, Maj Juma al Falasi, stressed to the public that proper safety measures are needed when operating such watercraft. He added that vendors who rent the vehicles must also follow safety regulations or face legal consequences.

"When people are performing water sports and are involved in accidents or lose consciousness, these measures could save their lives," he said, referring to precautions such as life jackets. "Operators who rent these materials need to ensure these measures are followed."

Last year the Dubai Maritime City Authority was given jurisdiction over the licensing and regulation of jet skis in the emirate.

According to the regulations the authority installed, jet skiing is only allowed in designated areas. The only area mentioned on its website is the Umm Suqeim fishing harbour on Jumeirah Road near Umm Suqeim One. They must also stay clear of swimming areas.

Dubai resident Robert Marinelli, 36, from Australia, said he had many times witnessed jet skis being operated dangerously in that area without reproach from the authorities.

"We have made complaints to lifeguards and hotel management," he said. "One lifeguard's response was that it was not his problem and was he only was responsible for the area of water designated for the hotel.

"They do this every weekend at 4 o'clock on the dot in the same area."

Dubai police said more than 30 divers participated in the search operation for the body.

Maj Ahmed Bu Reqaiba, deputy director of the Dubai Police Rescue Operations said the search was conducted in four quadrants.

"The first two quadrants were covered by Dubai Police, the third was by a group of volunteers, and the fourth was by the Dubai Municipality Environment Administration," he said. "During the operation, 3D sonar imaging devices, remote-controlled digital video cameras, and various boats and Dubai Police jet skis were utilised."

Shiekh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, sent divers and boats to help police.