Dubai: An Indian mother in Dubai has recounted the terrifying ordeal the family went through after her child’s arm got stuck in a swimming pool pipe for several hours.
The incident, as reported by Gulf News earlier, occurred on the night of September 14 when Thazeema Ashraf was sitting at the edge of the swimming pool at her residence, watching her three-and-a-half-year-old boy Ammar. Suddenly, she found that the arm of the child who was playing got stuck in the suction pipe at the bottom of the pool.
She told Gulf News that she witnessed what could be a parent’s worst nightmare as she was at one point feared she was losing her child.
“Things happened quickly. I was watching him play in the kids’ pool when his arm got trapped in the pipe. I jumped into the 60cm-deep pool to free him from the suction pipe, but all my attempts failed until Dubai Police came to our rescue,” Ashraf told Gulf News in an exclusive interview. She sought help from a nearby family, but they finally called 999 when all their attempts failed.
A team from the Maritime Rescue Department and Difficult Mission Squad at Dubai Police went to the boy’s building located on Dubai-Al Ain road. According to Dubai Police, the boy opened the drain cover and his hand was sucked into the pipe. Officers and paramedics calmed down the parents and the child after finding out that there was no serious danger to the child’s life.
According to Lt Col Ali Al Naqbi, Director, Maritime Rescue Department at Dubai Police, the water pressure prevented Ammar from freeing his arm. “We worked quickly to empty the pool manually, using buckets. The rescue operation lasted for two hours,” said Lt Col Al Naqbi in a statement.
Using a jackhammer, the concrete at the bottom of the swimming pool and around the child’s arm was cracked, before making a hole at the bottom of the drain to equalise the air pressure and rescue the child without any serious injury.
Ammar was rushed to Rashid Hospital for treatment and was discharged after a night’s stay.
Mohammad Ashraf, father of Ammar, told Gulf News, that he was working when the incident happened and helped the officers in emptying the water of the pool.
“My son was continually crying during the rescue operation, but he was brave enough to laugh after they freed his arm. He was happy inside the ambulance, too, and laughed with the paramedics before reaching the hospital. He went to sleep thereafter,” Ashraf said. “My son is a gift from God to me and I’m happy that he is safe. No words can express my thanks to Dubai Police for the work they have done to rescue Ammar,” he added.
Ammar’s mother, praised Dubai Police for the extensive rescue operation to save her son, describing them as heros. “I’m so thankful to Dubai Police because they came on time to rescue my son. For two hours, they worked tirelessly to pull out his arm without harming my child. They kept his head above the water and calmed us down,” Ashraf said.
Advice to parents
Ashraf urged all parents not only to monitor their children while in swimming pools, but that they must be with them inside to prevent any danger.
“I was sitting at the edge of the swimming pool, watching my child swim. My advice to all parents is that don’t just sit there. We don’t know what a child may be doing once in the pool. I was continuously monitoring my child and in spite of that this incident happened. If I was in the pool when he slipped in, I could have pulled his arm in time,” she said.
Dubai Police have urged parents to monitor their children and be with them in swimming pools if there is no lifeguard. “It is important to monitor the children all the time in swimming pools and call 999 in case of an emergency,” Lt Col Al Naqbi said
Building’s management clarifies stand
Sheffield Owners Association, that manages the residential building, told Gulf News that they stood by the rescue team in brainstorming about the best alternatives and, at the same time trying to comfort the panic-stricken parents.
“Safety is paramount to us and even after adhering to access control and safety measures, we still find ourselves in the midst of a situation like this where a child’s hand was stuck after breaching the grill. Children are a precious gift, we request all parents in all communities to be vigilant about them as a few seconds [of inattention] can cause a disaster, the statement from Sheffield said.