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Abu Dhabi: Keep away from non-designated beaches and this should not happen to any other family, said relatives and colleagues of an Indian man who died after saving his drowning children on a beach here on Friday.

They revealed that the deceased Dileepkumar Raveendran, 39, and family had never expected such a danger as they used to visit the “calm and quiet” beach, near Al Raha on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi city.

“As it was not a public beach, they never attempted swimming there as a warning board is in the vicinity. They were just walking in the water, close to the shore when high tide emerged out of the blue and dragged the children under the waves,” a close relative told Gulf News on Sunday.

“Apparently there were some pits under the water and children fell in them,” said Jyothilil Sukumaran.

As Gulf News reported on Sunday, the father collapsed after reaching the shore with two children — his daughter Devika, 9, and son Aryan, 6. The children were unharmed but shocked by their father’s death.

His death certificate confirmed that he died of cardiac arrest, possibly due to the shock of the incident, Sukumaran said.

He said the incident should be an eye-opener to all beachgoers. “The beach may look calm and quiet but water could always be tricky! He might have never imagined that there would be pits a few metres away and children would fall in them,” Sukumaran explained.

If they visited a public beach having lifeguards and safety systems, the tragedy could have been averted, he said.

“We don’t know how to deal with this loss! Now, the body is in morgue. When his wife and children see the body, we don’t know how to console them,” Sukumaran said.

“We want to request everyone from the bottom of our hearts … please avoid visiting non-designated beaches. Please remember they never attempted swimming but was simply walking in the water close to the shore!” he said while appealing to the public.

A colleague of the deceased said the incident has sent shock waves among colleagues and friends.

“I used to go to a similar non-designated beach in Taweela [near Al Raha where the tragedy occurred] with my family and we used to walk in the water; but not anymore,” said Jomon Jose, a construction manager.

The water always looked shallow but once when two speedboats passed through the nearby channel, powerful waves came up. “It was frightening. If my child was walking in the water, he would have been swept away,” Jose explained.

Even if water looks shallow, it will be deep after a few metres. That’s why authorities have placed warning boards [no swimming and fishing] in such places. “We must follow such instructions. This must not happen to anybody else,” Jose said

He said although he worked with Raveendran for just six months, he was like a long-time friend. “A very supportive and helpful man. We have lost a fine human being.”

Raveendran was perfectly fit and never had any history of ailments, another family friend said. His father had died of cardiac arrest a few years ago.

They said the body was embalmed on Sunday evening after completing the legal formalities. The body was scheduled to be repatriated on an early morning flight on Monday from Abu Dhabi to Kochi in the South Indian State of Kerala, accompanied by Raveendran’s wife, two children , his mother-in-law [who came on a visit here] and some close relatives.