Emirati brother and sister among four found dead in flooded wadi

Two more Emirati youths died after their vehicle was swept away by floods

A search and rescue helicopter hovers over a flooded wadi near the village of Wadi Al Helo on the east coast. Courtesy: Sharjah Police
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The bodies of four people, including two children, were found after flash floods swept away three vehicles on the UAE’s east coast.

The National Search and Rescue Centre, Sharjah Police, Civil Defence and scores of volunteers set out to find the 12 people reported missing in three incidents on Tuesday.

That day, heavy rain led to flooding in Fujairah and Sharjah’s east coast enclave.

“The search and rescue teams managed to find eight citizens, including a woman in a critical condition who was transferred to hospital," Brig Abdullah bin Amer, deputy chief of Sharjah Police, said on Wednesday morning.

"Torrents washed away their vehicles in the valleys."

Water suddenly gushed down the mountain into the valley and washed their car away

Later in the day, teams found the remaining four missing: two young Emirati men and a pair of siblings, aged 18 months and 4 years, all of whom had drowned.

The young siblings, Omar and Mathail Al Matroushi, had been with their father and older brother when their vehicle was swept away in the valley.

At 6.50pm, police received the report of a car with a family of four being swept away and were able to save the father and brother, 6, whose names were not released.

"The father was rescued after sunset and his daughter, about 4 years old, was found 7 kilometres away by a farm worker," said Hassan Al Mazroui, a resident of Wadi Al Helo, whose brother was involved in the search.

“His second son, about 18 months old, was found dead on Wednesday.”

It was one of three missing persons reports received by Sharjah Police on Tuesday.

The first came in at 5.25pm about three young Emiratis in a vehicle spotted drifting away in the valley. The road they were on had been closed by police for safety reasons.

Police found one of the three missing young men on Tuesday, while the other two, named as Hamza Al Makhtoubi 25, and Younis Al Baloushi, died. They were buried in Sharjah cemetery on Wednesday.

“We saw the three young Emiratis trying to reach the valley from our neighbourhood and residents tried to warn them, but they ignored the warning saying that their car was big, and kept driving,” said Mr Al Mazroui, 27, an Emirati government employee.

“Water suddenly gushed down the mountain into the valley and washed their car away..

“Rescue teams managed to rescue one of them, who was standing on the car rooftop, and transferred him to Kalba Hospital.

"But the other two were found dead on Wednesday morning about 10 kilometres away near Wahala village.”

Another five people, Emiratis from one family, were rescued in the third search after police received a report at 10.20pm.

“The mother, father and three children are all in good health," police said.

Mr Al Mazroui said more than 20 residents from Wadi Al Helo volunteered to help find the missing.

“We know the area very well, so we had to offer help," he said.

"All people that were swept away during the floods were from outside the village and not familiar with the area.

"The road was closed but they found their way through the residential neighbourhoods. The wadi becomes very dangerous during the heavy rain."

Police warned residents to steer clear of wadis during bad weather and to avoid roads that were closed, to avoid further tragedy.


Wild weather in the UAE this week