x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Three drown in rough seas in Dubai

Two people drowned in seas opposite the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) development in Dubai Marina, forcing police to close the public beach. A third drowned near the Burj al Arab.

DUBAI // Two people drowned in rough seas opposite the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) development in Dubai Marina yesterday (Friday).

A British man on holiday was pulled from the sea near the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort at about 1.45pm. A group of beachgoers attempted to resuscitate him, and then an ambulance crew gave him further treatment on the scene. Less than two hours later a second body, believed to be a European man in his mid-40s, was pulled from the surf nearby.

An official at Rashid Hospital in Dubai confirmed that it received two men dead on arrival. Dubai Police Rescue Operations and Dubai municipality officials ordered the beach to be closed to swimmers at 4pm.

A Dubai Municipality official at the beach said there were several other near drownings. He added: "We are closing down the beach. We have had five cases in one day and this is due to the undercurrents that are pulling swimmers in."

Two police cars, two ambulances, a rescue helicopter and a Dubai Police rescue 4x4 were called to the scene between 1.45pm and 4.45pm.

"We arrived at the beach and they had just pulled him out of the water," said a JBR resident who saw the first incident. "Someone said he was a British tourist on holiday with his wife.

"The people who dragged him out of the water tried to give him CPR. They said they could feel a pulse. There was a group of about 50 people watching. An ambulance came and then a helicopter landed just opposite Paul cafe, but it left without him.

"The sea was really hard core," he said. "The waves were about five to six feet high and you would stick your feet in the water and feel the current dragging you out."

Another witness, who participated in the rescue efforts, described the victim as "being pulled out lifeless".

Less than two hours later, the second body was pulled from the sea.

The victim was seen floating in the sea and was pulled from the water by two swimmers. Paramedics and beachgoers attempted to resuscitate him. After about 10 minutes, the man, who appeared to have cuts on his legs, was taken to an ambulance.

Despite the rough conditions and strong currents, people continued to enter the water throughout the afternoon. The public beach runs parallel to The Walk and is unmanned by lifeguards, apart from stretches in front of hotels.

People yesterday expressed their concern about the lack of lifeguards at public beaches. "What will it take to put lifeguards on the public beaches?" said Fadi Qarqeesh, a Jordanian who witnessed both drownings.

"Last year in May we saw two people drown in the public beach near Burj al Arab, and now we see two in the same day," said another witness.

WAM, the state news agency, had earlier issued a statement warning people about strong tides.