‘Isaw death but refused to give up’
Boat owner relives how he helped friend in six-hour swim for survival after their vessel capsized off Dubai coast
A sailor has told of how he and a friend battled waves and falling temperatures for six hours after their boat sank off the coast of Dubai.
Khalid Al Suwaidi, 35, told 7DAYS that he and fellow Emirati Mohammed Ahmed, 31, feared they would die after they were stranded 11km out to sea.
A diver by profession, Al Suwaidi said he kept his friend’s spirits up by telling him to think of seeing his family again, when a struggling Ahmed told him to go on without him.
“We faced darkness, high waves and cold water for six hours,” he said yesterday.
It was only their life-jackets and determination that saved them after their small cruiser began rapidly taking on water and sank, he said, adding: “We swam to save our lives. We were close to dying, but we survived.”
Al Suwaidi said they first realised they were in trouble two hours after setting off from Jumeirah on their boat trip at 4pm last Tuesday. He said they leapt off as the vessel took on water and watched it sink.
He said: “We started swimming, the waves were just throwing us back out.”
Al Suwaidi said Ahmed began swallowing water.
He said: “Both of us were exhausted but I encouraged him to continue.”
Al Suwaidi added: “I told him he must swim if he wants to see his child and family again and he did. I said to him that we’ll either live or die together.” He said they passed the World Islands at midnight. Four kilometres later they got sight of Jumeirah Beach and noticed people on the shore. Al Suwaidi said: “We used the whistles and yelled for help, we couldn’t swim another metre. Thanks to god the rescue boats from Dubai Police came and rescued us.” Al Suwaidi, a father of three children, said Ahmed was in a bad way with a body temperature of 28C. He was in a critical condition in hospital, but has recovered. Al Suwaidi said they sent an SOS to the UAE Coastguard before the boat went down but received no response. He said: “We waited for some time but no one came.” 7DAYS was unable to reach anyone at the coastguard. Al Suwaidi added: “We kept calm and kept swimming. We faced death but with the hope we would see our families again.”