A day at the beach turned deadly for a 20-year-old woman, whose drowning in Dubai has stunned local police and lifeguards. That’s because her father let it happen.
“This is one of the incidents which I cannot forget,” Lt. Col Ahmed Burqibah, Deputy Director of the city’s Police’s Search and Rescue Department told Emirates 24/7. “It shocked me and many others who were involved in the case.”
The young woman and her family, who were reportedly of unspecified Asian descent, went to the Dubai beach for “[a] picnic and fun.” The kids, including the 20-year-old, were swimming when suddenly, she started drowning and screamed for help.
Dubai lifeguards, reportedly men that day, hopped to action to save the girl. There was one problem — the woman’s father didn’t want them to stop her from drowning.
The man, reportedly very tall and strong, violently restrained the lifeguards from going into the water to save his drowning daughter. According to Burqibah, he pulled at her would-be rescuers, who were very close to saving her life.
The reason behind this incomprehensible action is disturbing.
“This obstacle was the belief of this Asian man who considered that if these men touched his daughter, then this would dishonour her. It cost him the life of his daughter.”
In other words, the father would rather have preserved his daughter’s honor, even if that meant she would die by drowning right before his very eyes.
According to The Daily Mirror, this decision was inspired by the man’s religious beliefs, however the family’s religion wasn’t specified by Dubai authorities.
Waseem Ahmed, director of risk at the Dubai Festival City, warned that more women and girls may die by drowning if female lifeguards aren’t hired to guard the city’s beaches, blaming “Middle East religious beliefs in Gulf countires” for the threat.
“Organizations and governments must employ certified female lifeguards to deal with females which in most cases is already in lace whether it’s government or private sector. But it is equally important to create an awareness amongst the community that the role of a lifeguard is that of a life-saver like a doctor and if in extreme cases when (females) are not available (men) must act or else we risk losing human life.”
As for the father, his actions haven’t been ignored by Dubai authorities. He was promptly arrested and, according to Emirates 24/7, “prosecuted and sued.” The Mirror reported that he had been fined.
[Photo Courtesy Vladimir Rys/Getty Images]