Sharjah: A student who was swept downstream in the flash floods in Wadi Shais in Khor Fakkan is still missing, confirmed an official at Sharjah Police on Sunday.
Albert Joy, 18, was reportedly attempting to cross the wadi in his car, along with five compatriots.
On Sunday, a friend of Joy’s father told Gulf News that he and a number of other concerned individuals had driven downstream into the neighbouring country of Oman to continue the search. Speaking on Sunday afternoon over the phone, he said there was yet no news or updates regarding the search.
Joy, who is from India and lives in Ras Al Khaimah, was among the six Indians travelling in a four-wheeler that became trapped in the flooded valley.
An Emirati man, Khalifa Ali Bin Saeed Al Naqbi, and his employees rescued five of the friends, aged between 22 and 23.
Al Naqbi said Joy refused to jump into the water surrounding the vehicle because “he was scared and he said he could not leave his father’s car”, which was later swept away.
Joy was last seen drifting away in the flash flood, caused by heavy rain in Northern Emirates on Thursday.
Joy is from the southern India state of Kerala and studies at Birla Institute of Technology Offshore Campus, Ras Al Khaimah (BIT-RAK).
Recalling Thursday’s incident, Al Naqbi had told Gulf News: “On Thursday around 4.30pm, heavy rains lashed Khor Fakkan. I parked my car and came back to watch the rain in the valley. That’s when I saw some youngsters shouting for help. Some were on the roof of the car and others at the window.”
Al Naqbi encouraged them to jump into the water and hold on to a wooden plank that he held out.
“But they were scared by the flood waters.”
Eventually, Al Naqbi, with help from his workers, managed to rescue five of the youngsters.
In an amateur video, apparently taken by a witness, the white 4x4 can be seen facing upstream, its almost submerged bonnet bearing the brunt of the raging flash flood.
Two rescuers are seen standing on the vehicle’s roof as two others try to coordinate the rescue from the banks of the wadi, which is swelling from the runoff coming from the rocky slopes of the surrounding valley.
Shouts from bystanders are barely audible over the noisy rush of the waters.
On Saturday, a relative of Joy said Joy’s loved ones and members of the wider community — Emiratis and expats — have also been searching for him.
He added that a shirt has been found in the search, according to a WhatsApp group created to share updates about the search.
The relative said that Joy’s mother believed the picture on WhatsApp was of the same shirt he was wearing on Thursday.
However, the relative added, there was no confirmation about the shirt or Joy’s whereabouts on Saturday.
Lieutenant Colonel Walid Khamis Al Yamahi, director of Khor Fakkan Police, said that the police operation room had received an emergency call on Thursday at around 5pm reporting the incident.
Lt Col Al Yamahi urged people to keep away from valleys and mountains as their surroundings become dangerous during heavy rains. He also called on the public to follow instructions issued by Sharjah Police and the Ministry of Interior during rains.
Despite repeated warnings from authorities, people continue to visit wadis during rains to enjoy the cool weather and scenery.
However, many such excursions have turned tragic with a number of residents drowning in flash floods.