Emirati boy rescued from drowning dies after 50 days in hospital

Zaid Al Shehhi, 5, died from complications relating to oxygen loss

Related: Mother drowns while swimming with children in latest accident

A five-year-old boy who was saved from drowning off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah died after 50 days in an intensive care unit.

Zaid Al Shehhi was pulled from the water at Al Maahad beach on April 4.

He was taken to Saqr Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah before being transferred to the ICU at Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah.

“He was swimming with his brothers when the strong tide pulled him away,” the boy’s uncle, Mohammed Al Shehhi, told The National.

We were told that he wasn’t capable of breathing because of the large amount of water in his lungs

Mohammed Al Shehhi, Zaid's uncle

“His mother and the helper tried to rescue him but the strong tide pulled him farther into the sea.”

Zaid was rescued by a jet skier who sped out to help the family.

He suffered brain and organ damage relating to oxygen loss.

“We were told that he wasn’t capable of breathing because of the large amount of water in his lungs,” Mohammed said.

The boy's father, Saeed Al Shehhi, said he died on Tuesday..

The family said there was no lifeguard on duty on the stretch of public beach where Zaid went swimming.

“Lifeguards must be appointed on all public beaches to take swift action,” Mohammed said.

Zaid was laid to rest in Khatt cemetery in Ras Al Khaimah in a service attended by family and friends.

In a further tragedy, a friend of Zaid's family drowned in an accident on Thursday.

Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, 14, was pulled from the water dead after getting into trouble while swimming off Al Rams beach in RAK.

Mohammed, Zaid's uncle, said the family were devastated.

Dr Ammar Al Hakim, head of the paediatric unit at Ajman's Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, one of the largest hospitals in the Northern Emirates, urged parents and lifeguards to be alert following the recent drownings.

“Pulling a child out of the water doesn’t mean they were safely rescued, because a body deprived from oxygen can lead to severe repercussions," he said.

Children can even suffer 'secondary drowning', when water logs in the lungs.

It can prove fatal hours after the accident, if medical treatment is not sought.

"I'm saddened by this and its an eye opener for all parents to be more cautious," he said.

Updated: May 28, 2021 05:43 PM

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