When 14-year-old Sultan bin Aboud, a strong and keen swimmer, left his home on Thursday afternoon to spend time at a nearby beach, his family thought nothing of it. An hour later, they received a call from a relative saying the young Emirati had drowned.
“We received a call around 5pm from our cousin telling us that Sultan had drowned in the sea while swimming with his friends,” his 28-year-old sister said. “All of us went crazy and started praying in order to find him alive.
“He left home at 4pm with his other friends to go and hang out on the beach. We live beside the sea and he always goes there with his friends. He loved swimming and was a good swimmer.”
A friend of Sultan’s, who was swimming with him, said a sudden change in the weather led to the teenager being swept away by a large wave.
After attempting to save their friend, the boys drew the attention of some nearby fishermen who helped in the search.
Mohammad Rashed, Sultan’s cousin, said he rushed to Merbeh Beach after hearing about the incident from a friend.
“It took them two hours to get his body out of the water. The sea was very rough.
“The fishermen had spread their nets all over the area and started dragging it until they found the body,” Mr Rashed said. “The police had also done their job, but this is God’s will and no one can do anything to prevent it.”
Police, who were notified about 5.30pm, sent a helicopter and divers to the beach as part of the search-and-rescue efforts.
“He was just too young to die. I’m still in shock and can’t believe what has happened,” his sister said.
After the body was released by Fujairah Hospital, the teenager’s funeral was held the same evening.