Dubai: A 63-year-old Emirati captain of a fishing boat has saved the lives of eight people and recovered two bodies from the sea in an incident in Dubai waters, Gulf News can reveal.
Issa Muhammad Al Falasi rescued the men – six Indians and two Pakistanis – who had rented a boat to go fishing on January 11. Two other Indians with them drowned after their boat capsized from encountering high waves due to rough weather.
Dubai Police has confirmed the incident to Gulf News.
On Monday, recalling the rescue, Al Falasi said he had set sail from Al Hamriyah Port in Dubai at 10am last Thursday on a routine fishing trip. He was accompanied by two workers.
Out at sea, Al Falasi said he saw a person in the distance wearing a life jacket, who being carried away by the waves. Al Falasi rode the boat fast to reach the man in distress and pulled him on board. He administered first aid to the man and was astonished to hear that there were nine other people who has been on the rented boat. Al Falasi began a search for them.
“I didn’t have phone coverage so I couldn’t immediately request assistance from the competent authorities. I wanted to quickly find any survivors,” Al Falasi told Gulf News.
After taking his boat in different directions during the search, Al Falasi eventually rescued a total of eight survivors. Sadly, two bodies were found afloat, and were pulled onto the boat.
Joy and sorrow
In a mixture of joy and sorrow, Al Falasi recounted the fateful day.
“I was on my way to catch fish, as it’s my daily routine. I normally leave the port around 4am, but on that day, I left the port at 10am as the boat had not been used for five days because of maintenance work in the boat’s engine,” he said.
“While I was heading to the fishing site, I saw a person wearing a life jacket in the distance being carried by the raging waves, so I rushed to him, only to find that he had nearly drowned and was exhausted. So I took the initiative to rescue him, with help from the fishing workers who were with me, and gave him first aid.”
Race against time
Al Falasi: “After I calmed him down, he told me - filled with fear and fatigue - that there were nine other people, who had possibly drowned. I tried to use the phone to call for help, but I was outside the service coverage area, and I had no choice at that time but to search for them myself and save them, and I entered into a struggle against time – especially since he told me that they had been suffering there, out at sea, for about two hours.”
He continued: “I began the search mission, which lasted for around half an hour, in the surrounding area. I found eight people, who were frightened and exhausted. I provided them with first aid and motivated them with some words that calmed them down, and I resumed my mission to search for the remaining two people.
“I was constantly monitoring the movements of the waves and sailing the boat in different directions. After a short period, I found them and recovered their bodies.”
After all the 10 men were accounted for, Al Falasi immediately set off to the nearest Coast Guard point, who in turn communicated with concerned authorities, including Dubai Police and the ambulance.
“The officials were fully prepared immediately upon our arrival, and they began to check on everyone’s safety, provide care for them, and receive the bodies of the two people who died,” Al Falasi said.
Al Falasi is a father for four daughters and two sons. He was worked in the sea since he was seven.