How three children died when simple backyard game became well tragedy

One minute four cousins, all aged four, were playing; the next they had fallen 50 metres

Image Credit: Supplied
Four-year-old Khalifa, who was rescued by Civil defence from the well.
Gulf News

Al Ain: For Hessa, Mohammad and twins Sultan and Khalifa, all of them only four years old, life was about playing and having fun.

On Wednesday afternoon, the four cousins were playing in the backyard of Hessa’s house in Al Ain when tragedy struck.

“Hessa, Mohammad, Sultan and Khalifa went to play outside in the backyard as usual,” an emotionally distraught Umm Mohammad Al Khaili, a relative of the children, told Gulf News.

“Then, they saw a cat and started chasing it. Their mothers and relatives had gone to attend Al Asr prayers.

"The children ran after the cat and when it jumped on to the wooden cover over an abandoned water well in the corner of the backyard, the children too jumped on it.

"The plywood cover suddenly gave way and the children fell into the well. The water well is abandoned and was dug 20 years ago.”



The well in Al Ain where three children died.


The children fell 50 metres down the well in Al Naifia area of Al Hili in Al Ain.

The families of the children searched for them all over the house and were shocked to find them in the well.

Major Mohammad Saleh Al Beloushi, director of the emergency and safety department of Al Ain Police, told Gulf News that police teams along with Emirates Rescue and Search teams were dispatched immediately to the accident site after receiving the information.

Al Beloushi said: “The children were evacuated from the water well. Four-year-old Khalifa Mohammad Al Darmaki was rescued alive and rushed to Al Ain Hospital, whereas his twin brother Sultan [Mohammad Al Darmaki] and four-year-old maternal cousins Hessa Saeed Al Khaili and Mohammad Mubarak Al Khalili were pronounced dead and their bodies transferred to Al Jimi morgue for an autopsy. Investigations are under way to determine the cause of death.”

The children sustained severe fractures and suffered from suffocation as a result of the fall.

“Khalifa has been discharged from hospital after recovering from his injuries, however, he is still in shock and can’t believe what happened," Umm Mohammad added.

"He refuses to talk to anyone about what happened to his twin and cousins in the accident. He is currently being treated by a psychologist,” .

Hessa’s father, Saeed, flew back from France on Thursday afternoon.

All born towards the end of 2011, Hessa, Mohammad, Sultan and Khalifa, all aged four, were cousins and went to the same school in Al Ain and studied together in kindergarten.

The deceased children will be buried in Al Mutawea cemetery on Friday around 7am after Al Fajr prayers in Al Mutawea Mosque.

Abandoned well accidents in the UAE

May 2011: A three-year-old boy rescued after falling 11 metres into an abandoned water well of a house located in Mazaid area of Al Ain. The boy sustained minor injuries after jumping on the wooden lid of the water well that gave away.

February 2015: An 18-year-old Emirati dies after trying to rescue a nine-year-old boy who fell in an abandoned water well in Awhalaeh area of Fujairah. Both victims drowned in the well.

Water wells

Upon the establishment of the UAE, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan would give people land for farming, and due to scarce water resources, people dug groundwater wells for irrigation and farming and built their houses on these farms.

Today, many of the contemporary houses in Al Ain are built on land that has abandoned water wells built decades ago.

Police scotch rumour

Abu Dhabi Police announced on Thursday that there is no suspicion of crime in the incident. The police called on the public to avoid sharing misleading information and spreading rumours.

“We reiterate that the information being shared by the public is nothing but a rumour,” the Abu Dhabi Police official Facebook page stated.

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