June 24, 2022

Dubai siblings save Indian hotel guest from drowning


Abbas and Alefiyah at the Al Badia Residences Family Residence in Dubai.
Image Credit: Arshad Ali / Gulf News

Dubai: A family from Dubai was on vacation at a resort near Mumbai when they heard a loud splash in the pool – a man who couldn’t swim had just fallen into the deep end.

Without a moment’s hesitation, siblings Alefiyah Akil and Abbas Akil rushed to his aid and saved him from drowning.

The incident, which happened on August 7, prompted Fariyas Resort Lonavla to present a letter of appreciation to Alefiyah, 17, and Abbas, 13.

Their mother Fatima said Gulf News On Tuesday, she prepares the sibling nominations for India‘s coveted National Bravery Award, which honors the brave deeds of Indian children, for the 2018-19 edition.

We had no work experience or any experience in this area, but we could swim and we knew what we had to do – and that was to save this man.

– Abbas Akil

The first edition, held in 1958, saw then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru present the award to a 14-year-old scout who tore up a burning tent, saving dozens of lives. Another child was also awarded. Since then, the Indian Council for Child Welfare has carried on the tradition.

Letter of appreciation

The hotel sent a thank you letter to the children.

Recounting what happened that day, the siblings said they were the only ones who could swim when a stocky middle-aged hotel guest apparently slipped and fell to the bottom of the pool after it closes at night.

Alefiyah, a 12th grade student at GEMS Our Own English High School in Al Warqa, Dubai, said she was playing table tennis with her father by the pool when she heard splashing.

I am confident in my swimming, I have been swimming from a young age. I couldn’t leave it there, knowing that I could swim. I did the right thing, I wasn’t really scared.

– Alefiyah Akil

“When I saw it was a drowning man, I jumped in without thinking twice,” she added.

“He was petrified and trying to hold on to whatever he could. I had a hard time keeping him and me afloat because he inadvertently dragged me with him, and he was a heavy man.

Also seeing what had just happened, Abbas quickly assessed the danger of the situation. He dived to the bottom of the pool so he could push the drowning man. Working together, the siblings managed to get the man to the poolside where hotel guests took him to safety.

Abbas, an eighth grade student at GEMS New Millennium School in Al Khail, Dubai, said: this man. I was a little scared because I hadn’t taken a deep breath when I dived, I just reacted and jumped in. I spent almost a minute underwater, I think.

Alefiyah said all she needed to know before making the split-second decision to jump was that there was a man who was drowning and she could swim.

“I am confident in my swimming, I have been swimming from a young age. I couldn’t leave it there, knowing that I could swim. I did the right thing, I wasn’t really scared, ”she added.

There was no lifeguard as the pool was closed and the man’s family and other guests at the time could not swim, the siblings said.

Their parents had also encouraged them to rush to the man’s rescue. Fatima said: “Seeing the situation, Alefiyah jumped to save him, not thinking of his injured foot, which was bandaged after being cut off earlier today by a broken tile on the pool floor.”

She added: “The man came to his senses after a while and his family thanked us. I felt so proud of my children.

“It all happened so quickly that at first I didn’t know it was my daughter who was saving the man. When I saw her – and also how their father also encouraged them both in the rescue – I was convinced they would be fine.