UAE | Emergencies

Two maids drown trying to rescue toddler in hotel pool

Toddler remains in a critical condition after mother gave him CPR

  • By Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporter and Noor Nazzal, Special To Gulf News
  • Published: 19:36 October 24, 2012

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Three-year-old Salmeen Hadef Salem in hospital.
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Dibba, Fujairah: Two maids died while trying to rescue an Emirati child from drowning in a hotel swimming pool in Dibba, Fujairah.

The women leapt into the water after three-year-old Salmeen Hadef Salem, who had wandered into the hotel’s adult pool.

Police have since arrested the manager of the Holiday Beach Motel as the toddler, whose family are from Al Ain, fights for life in hospital.

Salmeen’s mother told how she desperately gave her son CPR by the poolside, as his heart had stopped beating.

Speaking from the hospital where her son is being treated, she told Gulf News: “I saw someone give CPR on TV once and copied what I’d seen, I gave him CPR as his heart wasn’t beating until the ambulance arrived.

“Doctors have told us there is little hope that my son will survive as he has damage to his brain but we want him to be taken out of the country for treatment instead.

“We blame the hotel for this, the lifeguard wasn’t there at the time this happened.”

According to the acting director of Dibba police, Major Abdullah Al Yamahi, tragedy struck when little Salmeen jumped into the hotel’s adult pool.

The two maids, A.A, an Ethiopian woman aged 25 and L.J, aged 20, of Sri Lanka, hadn’t noticed the child go into the adult pool.

When one of the maids noticed Salmeen was drowning, she jumped after him and they both started drowning. 

The second maid then jumped into the pool in attempt to save both the other maid and child.

Salmeen’s mother said: “We had come to the hotel to spend the Eid holidays.
“I was at the pool with our maids, Salmeen and his sisters who are one and five years old. I went to make sandwiches for the children, taking my eldest child with me.

“I wasn’t gone for more than five minutes when I heard the screams, people were shouting, ‘your child is drowning.’

“I ran back to the pool, I have no idea how I got there, it was such a blur, a female tourist had pulled my son out of the water.

“I did everything I could for my son until the ambulance arrived, but our maids died.

“They worked for us for a long time, we loved and trusted them and they us.”

According to Dibba Police, the lifeguard who was busy working on another task, noticed the incident too late.

Salmeen was taken by plane to Tawam Hospital in Al Ain where he is critically ill.

Officials at the hospital say the child is suffering from a serious injury to the brain.

The Public Prosecutor, Chief Ebrahim Al Antali, has ordered the bodies of the maids be transferred to Dibba hospital in Fujairah to determine the cause of death.

The hotel’s manager has been arrested and detained for further questioning.

The lifeguard was also arrested but was then bailed by the Public Prosecutor.

Despite allegations that the lifeguard was not available at the time of the incident, Joseph Khoury, owner of the Holiday Beach Motel claimed to Gulf News that the lifeguard had been by the pool all the time.

“The lifeguard was there during the incident and as soon as he saw them drowning, he jumped in to help.

“The lifeguard did all he could but it was too late for the maids.

“For the past 18 years we have not had any drowning incidents, the lifeguard was always there and in this case I blame the child’s guardians, how can you leave your three-year-old child go to the pool with two maids that can’t even swim?

“The kid’s parents should have been more attentive of their child.

“As for the hotel manager, I have hired him a lawyer and expect that he will be released from prison soon. I would also like to say that I feel for the parents and I hope that their child gets well soon.”

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