The boy's uncle broke the washing-machine door and pulled the boy out. Image Credit: Gulf News

Ajman: A four-year-old child died in a freak accident after he was trapped in a front-loading washing machine that automatically filled with water when the boy climbed inside and inadvertently closed the door, said police.

Police told Gulf News that the 4-year-old Emirati boy was found by his mother when she returned home and discovered her child’s lifeless body inside the machine. An autopsy was under way on Thursday but the boy may have drowned when the machine filled with water.

The incident happened in Al Rawdha area in Ajman, said Lieutenant Colonel Yahya Khalaf Al Matroushi, director of Al Hamidiya Police Station, Ajman Police.

The boy was left in the care of his grandmother and uncle when his mother was out, police said. The boy’s uncle broke the washing-machine door and pulled the boy out, but the boy was dead.

The body was moved to the forensic laboratory for autopsy.

The boy may have climbed into the washing machine out of curiosity and when the door slammed shut it appears to have automatically started the wash cycle and trapping him inside, the police said.

Police investigation is ongoing but they have ruled out foul play.

As unusual as the incident is, countries around the world from China and the UK to the United States have logged scores of deaths in recent years of children drowning in washing machines after becoming trapped inside.

Authorities worldwide have repeatedly warned parents to never allow children to play in a laundry room given the dangers of washing machines.

In January of this year, a 5-year-old Japanese boy died in a front-loading machine after he closed the door from the inside.

In 2016, media reported a 3-year-old died in Arkansas from scalding after she was trapped in a washing machine that was preset to begin the wash cycle when the door closed.