Indian expatriates in RAK pay tribute to dead firefighter

Around 2,000 people attended a ceremony to honour Jassim Al Baloushi, 27, who was among fire crews who tackled the blaze on board Emirates flight EK521 on August 3.
Emirati firefighter Jassim Al Baloushi died while trying to rescue the passengers of an Emirates airliner that crash-landed at Dubai International Airport on August 3. Satish Kumar / The National
Emirati firefighter Jassim Al Baloushi died while trying to rescue the passengers of an Emirates airliner that crash-landed at Dubai International Airport on August 3. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Thousands of Indian expatriates gathered in Ras Al Khaimah last week to pay tribute to an Emirati firefighter who died while saving passengers from the Emirates flight that caught fire after landing at Dubai International Airport last month.

Around 2,000 people attended a ceremony to honour Jassim Al Baloushi, 27, who was among fire crews who tackled the blaze on board Emirates flight EK521. The Boeing 777-300 from Trivandrum International Airport in Thiruvananthapuram, India, burst into flames moments after landing on August 3.

“What Jassim has done, only great men can do. Today is a special occasion to pay tribute to our national hero, to our brother, our son,” said Sheikh Saleem Bin Sultan Al Qassimi, chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation in RAK.

“It really touched my heart when I saw such a large number of people gathered to pay tribute to Jassim,” he said.

As well as the firefighter’s parents and brothers, who live in RAK, Kerala state minister VS Sunil Kumar and Mohammed Hashimi, General Manager of Emirates Airlines, Haydn Beynon, Head of Fire services at Dubai Airports, Ebrahim Al Khasraj, Deputy Chief Fire Officer – Dubai Aviation Civil Defence, Major Faisal Abdullah, Dubai Civil Defence Director, and Saleh Alyoon, Deputy Director of the RAK Cultural centre, where the event was held, were also present.

“We are proud of Jassim for the sacrifice he made in discharge of his duty to save the lives of people who are unknown to him. Indians are not merely expats living in the UAE. The people of UAE are our brothers and sisters. And we share emotional and sentimental bonds. For Keralites, the UAE is home away from home,” said Mr Kumar, who presented a memento to Eisa Al Baloushi, the firefighter’s father.

“The Indian community, especially Keralites, are proud of Jassim. I could see the emotions among all attendees. Many of them came from other emirates to express their tribute to him,” KV Shamsuddin, one of the guests said.

“I was in Kerala and saw billboards across the state paying tributes to the Jassim. Some of them were on display at the state government’s fire and safety department. The Kerala Herald put his photograph on its cover.”

akhaishgi@thenational.ae

Published: September 4, 2016 04:00 AM

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