Ras Al Khaimah: The tragic fallout of a powerful storm continued on Thursday for an Emirati family from Wadi May in Fujairah whose vehicle was caught in a three-metre deep torrent of water that claimed four of the five people in the four-wheel-drive truck.
The family didn’t have a chance when the vehicle was enveloped by a cascade of rainwater racing through Al Qur valley fed by a heavy downpour and dark skies that pelted Al Munyai area.
The bodies of two boys aged Mansour, 6, and Fazaa, 3, were recovered Thursday morning by an emergency search team comprised of officers from Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai Police and Abu Dhabi Police.
The discovery of the boy’s bodies followed the retrieval of the bodies of Amna Saeed, the boys’ 40-year-old mother and daughter, Moza, 11, on Wednesday night.
The father, Ali Abdullah Khalfan Al Kindi, is the sole survivor of the tragedy that began on a simple nature excursion to the mountainous area.
The mother and her children were buried in Fujairah cemetery on Thursday morning.
Residents of Wadi May gathered on Thursday morning and held the funeral prayer for the deceased and her three children at Wadi May mosque.
Abdullah Khamis Al Kindi, cousin of the father, told Gulf News that he was on his way to Sharjah Airport when he received the sad news.
“My friend from Wadi Al Hilow phoned me and told me about the incident … immediately I cancelled my flight and returned to join my family in their catastrophe,” he said.
“The father is patient and said this is the will of Almighty Allah … they are martyrs and will be in heaven,” he said of his cousin.
Three older children aged 19, 17 and 13, who were not on the nature excursion and were safe at home, he said.
The family left from their home in Wadi May on Wednesday to travel to the Al Qur Valley in Ras Al Khaimah to enjoy the weather and the rain.
The road used by his cousin was newly opened roughly one month ago to the public and extends through the valley for around 20km ending at the Oman border.
Ali Saeed Al Dahmani, administrator of the area, said the deadly accident happened when the father was driving on a sandy stretch and tried to cross the 500-metre valley but the torrent swept their vehicle away during heavy rains.
Al Dahmani also told Gulf News that they are working with other departments, including the municipality, to send tankers into water-logged areas to siphon off heavy pools of water dumped in the storm.
According to eyewitness accounts recorded by police, the father was overwhelmed by the water as it rose higher and higher around his vehile.
Major General Ali Abdullah Bin Alwan Al Naimi, Commander-in-chief of Ras Al Khaimah Police, told Gulf News, that members of Al Kindi the family climbed to the roof of the vehicle but as a result, the vehicle overturned and was swept down the raging river into the valley.
The husband was rescued by the people who witnessed the event while the mother was found dead near the vehicle.
The bodies of the three children were found eight kilometres downstream from the scene of the accident, said Maj Gen Al Naimi.
Maj. Gen. Al Naimi said that the rain started at 3.30pm on Wednesday and gradually turned into a heavy downpour.
Rain was so heavy that it reached heights of 3.5 metres in some places, he said, including the spot where the Al Kindi family’s vehicle was trapped in the water.
Residents flirt with disaster
Ras Al Khaimah: Major General Ali Abdullah Bin Alwan Al Naimi, Commander-in-chief of Ras A Khaimah Police, told Gulf News that despite repeated police warnings every year ahead of unstable winter storms, residents still risk their lives and cross dangerous roads that are suddenly flooded under rain water.
“We deployed our patrols on the all roads which were hit by heavy rains and also they were stationed near valley areas to prohibit people from entering the area in order to protect their lives, but some of them insisted to cross the valley,” Maj. Gen. Al Naimi said.
“The issue is related to residents’ culture but we continue our efforts to change their attitudes and educate them how to behave in unstable weather. We also send awareness messages through police social media channels,” he said.