x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Two injured crewmen have operations to remove shrapnel

One says he still has pieces in leg but hopes to return home soon

DUBAI // Two of the three crew injured on Monday have had surgery to remove shrapnel from their bodies.

Four Indian fishermen were shot, one fatally.

"Doctors are operating on my leg again," said Muthu Muniraj, 28, who was shot on his right side. "I believe there are bullet pieces still in my leg.

"I was given a blood transfusion before the surgery. They also said they will fix some of my bones that are broken.

"The pain is unbearable. I just hope I can walk again and wish everything will be back to normal soon."

Mr Muniraj, who moved to Dubai immediately after his wedding eight months ago, said he had spoken to his wife on the day of the incident and she had been inconsolable.

"She was crying on the phone and wanted to see me immediately," he said. "I have promised to fly back to India to see them as soon as I am well."

The crew, mostly in their 20s, arrived in the UAE in the past year for a job that earned them about Dh1,000 a month.

The two Indian crew who narrowly escaped injury, along with the two Emiratis on board, said the shooting left them shaken.

Kumaresan, 23, said it had been difficult for him to see one colleague mortally wounded and the others bleeding.

"I don't want to work here any more," Kumaresan said, after visiting his crewmates in hospital. "I am so scared now. I just want to go back and be with my family."

Murugan, 40, said Monday's incident had deeply affected him.

"I was lucky to be safe," Murugan said. "I am a little scared now to go back into the water.

"I would like to leave as soon as possible. My family is so upset that they want me to come back."

pkannan@thenational.ae