Ras Al Khaimah elevator accident: Uncle rushed to save niece but he was too late

Girl, 3, died after being crushed between a shop wall and an elevator at a store

  • An aerial view of Ras Al Khaimah. Image Credit: Gulf News
  • Symbol of the UAE’s rich heritage: Dhow roundabout in Ras Al Khaimah.Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Gulf News

Ras Al Khaimah: The uncle of an Emirati girl who died on Monday afternoon after being crushed between a shop wall and an elevator at a store has urged parents to keep an eye on their children. He says the three-year-old’s parents are struggling to come to terms with what happened.

Ras Al Khaimah police called the owner of the shop and his staff for questioning.

Shama Mohammad was pronounced dead at the scene despite efforts to resuscitate her. On Wednesday her uncle Mohammad Mattar, a civil defence employee, told Gulf News that his panic-stricken family had called him at 11am while he was in Dubai to tell him what had happened but by the time he arrived she was dead.

The incident was reported to the police at 12pm. Colonel Abdullah Ali Al Munkis, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department at Ras Al Khaimah police, expressed regret over the incident. Police stressed the importance of reporting accidents to authorities as soon as possible and allowing trained officials to carry out rescue and recovery operations to prevent loss of lives.

Mattar said Shama was with her mother and aunt when the incident happened. She went with her aunt to the second floor of the shop while her mother was on the ground floor.

He said the girl suddenly disappeared from sight and the aunt began searching for her. She then saw Shama hanging from her chest with her head between the elevator and the concrete wall and her legs dangling in the air.

“Her aunt started shouting and attracted the attention of her mother who was also in shock and started to scream and went towards her daughter in an attempt to save her.

“I was in Dubai at that time then I got a call at 11am from my family reporting the incident. I went back as quickly as possible to Ras Al Khaimah and arrived at the shop at around 12.30pm. I ran quickly towards the elevator to do what I could do as I work for the civil defence and I am familiar with procedures in such incidents.

“Shama was pinned between the elevator and the wall. Her head was up and her legs were hanging in the air. The pressure was on her chest and she couldn’t breathe. The elevator was also stuck. We tried to move it up or down but no way was it working,” he said.

“I took her to the hospital. She was already dead. It was a very tragic and horrific moment. Her father, who is a military employee and works in Abu Dhabi, was informed about the incident, and he arrived in Ras Al Khaimah to find his daughter was about to be buried. Her parents are in a state of shock and we pray to Almighty Allah to give them patience to cope with their big loss,” he said.

“May Almighty Allah bless her soul,” he added.

The case is now with the police and they will investigate the cause behind the accident and whether the owner had permission to put an elevator in their shop and if the elevator had a technical fault.

Lieutenant Colonel Abdullah Hanhoon, acting head of the Department of Civil Protection and Safety in the Department of Civil Defence in Ras Al Khaimah, explained that the department sent inspectors on Monday after the incident took place to determine the reason behind the elevator accident.

Police investigations revealed that the elevator was allocated to carry goods to the upper floor only and was not for the use of customers.

A team from the police station, headed by Colonel Al Munkis, and civil defence workers removed the elevator to pull out the girl’s body.

Col Al Munkis urged shopkeepers to put the elevator and escalator for goods far away from customers to prevent lives being put at risk.

The tragedy also affected friends and neighbours in the Siheila area where the family lives. Shama was the eldest sister of one-year-old twins, Abdullah and Mariam.

Ahmad Al Shehi, 25, an Al Siheila resident, told Gulf News he could not believe it. “It was a tragic incident. Shama was lovely and full of joy.”

Relatives and neighbours gathered for Shama’s funeral at Siheila cemetery on Monday afternoon.

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