Indian widow recalls Dubai beach tragedy

Says her pharmacist husband died of cardiac failure while swimming with son

  • George with his children at Al Mamzar beach minutes before his death.Image Credit: Courtesy: Shiny George
  • George enjoying a water ride. He often took the children swimming at beaches and for water rides, his wife sayImage Credit: Courtesy: Shiny George
Gulf News

Dubai: An Indian man, who died while saving his son at Dubai’s Al Mamzar beach on July 22, had a heart attack while in the water, his wife has said.

George C. Joseph, a pharmacist in Al Ghusais, died after saving his son from drowning during a family outing, his friends had said the next day. One of them added that George did not know swimming and had drowned after pulling out his 13-year-old son, Ahil, from the water.

Almost two months after the tragedy, his widow, Shiny George, has spoken about what really happened on the ill-fated day.

“I don’t know why his own friends said he did not know swimming without verifying the facts with me. He knew swimming and he used to take the kids for swimming in beaches and for water rides in theme parks here very frequently,” Shiny told Gulf News.

She also provided pictures of her husband on outings to the beach and water parks.

She said 49-year-old George and Ahil were in swimwear when they got into the water that evening as well. Her elder daughter, Ancy, also joined them for some time. “I was watching them and was taking photos from the shore. Ancy had come out of the water after some time. Suddenly I noticed there was something wrong,” Shiny recollected.

She said she did not understand what was happening. “I could see that he [George] was holding Ahil and there seemed to be some trouble. As I don’t how to swim I asked Ancy to rush and support him.”

Shiny is still not sure if her son was actually drowning and if her husband had a heart attack out of that shock.

“All that he [Ahil] told me later was that his feet couldn’t touch the seabed and he said his father was holding him. I didn’t ask him many questions as he had already gone through a lot of trauma and I didn’t want anyone to ask him any questions and make him relive those bad memories.”

Though Ancy swam to her father and brother, she couldn’t do much either. “I could see all three of them holding on to each other and my kids were crying,” said Shiny, 41, a nurse in a Dubai school.

“I called the police a few times. By then, the lifeguard reached and threw a rescue buoy to them. They swam clutching on to it and reached ashore with the help of the lifeguard.”

The police and the ambulance had reached the spot by then. George was given CPR and was rushed to Dubai Hospital. However, he could not be survived and he was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

The forensic report later stated that George had suffered cardiac arrest and respiratory failure while in the water. “I really didn’t know life could turn upside down in five minutes like this. From my phone data, I can see that I had taken his photo holding a jellyfish in his hand just five minutes before I called the police,” said Shiny, who is now determined to continue working here to ensure a good education for her children.