Sharjah: Four people, including two children, were found dead after three cars were swept away in a flash flood in Wadi Al Helo in Sharjah emirate just inland from Fujairah on Tuesday evening.
The children, a one-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, both siblings named Mathayel and Omar Al Matroushi, were found dead, after their elder brother Khalifa, aged eight, and father, Fahad, age unknown, were both rescued by helicopter.
Two men aged 25 and 37 were also found dead from a separate vehicle, where a third man was also rescued.
A third vehicle carrying a family of five was also swept away in the torrent but all of them – a mother, father and three children – were rescued.
In total four died and eight were rescued in the operation.
The first of the three incidents involving three men inside one vehicle was reported at 5.25pm. The second incident involving the two deceased children was reported at 6.50pm, and the third incident involving the family of five happened at 10.20pm.
Major General Saif Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in Chief of Sharjah Police, said, “Police closed all main roads in that flooded area of Wadi Al Helo to protrect lives of all road users but some motorists used interior road [subway roads leading to farms] which could not be seen by police and they put their lives at risk as a consequence.”
Al Shamsi urged people to keep away from valleys and mountains during heavy rainfall as their surroundings become dangerous. He also called on the public to follow instructions issued by Sharjah Police and the Ministry of Interior during rains.
Despite repeated warnings from authorities, people continue to visit wadis during heavy rain to enjoy the weather and scenery. However, many such excursions have turned tragic with a number of residents drowning in flashfloods.
Major General Al Shamsi said police had – and would continue to - spread their awareness message to the public through different channels and in different languages to enable people to understand the advisory from police to avoid such areas during heavy rain.
The Eastern Region Police Department at the General Command of Sharjah Police conducted Tuesday’s rescue mission.
The rescue operations were carried out under the supervision of Brigadier Abdullah Mubarak bin Amer, Deputy Commander in Chief of Sharjah Police.
Civil Defence, the Air Wing Department of the General Department of Security Support in the Ministry of Interior, Search and Rescue, and National Ambulance joined efforts to find the missing people.