Muscat: A young Omani died on Wednesday from injuries he received while working to rescue stranded motorists during Cyclone Mekunu, raising the death toll to seven.
Hassan Al Mahri was attempting to tow two vehicles to safety during the second day of the storm, when a tow truck’s iron hook was torn from a vehicle and struck him in the head.
He died at Sultan Qaboos Hospital on Wednesday.
Al Mahri had joined his friends in rescuing vehicles that were trapped by strong winds and heavy rains in the Wilayat of Thumrait when the incident occurred.
His cousin, Salim Al Mahri, told the Times of Oman, “He was in a coma for nine days at Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah and he passed away on Wednesday. It was a very big loss for the family.”
When contacted, the Royal Oman Police spokesperson confirmed, “He passed away on Wednesday.” Saeed Al Mahri, the deceased’s elder brother, said, “Salim always wanted to serve others since he was a child. He was with a group of his friends when the incident occurred. They were trying to help a trapped vehicle in a wadi while it was raining heavily during the second day of Cyclone Mekunu. The incident occurred at 6:30 pm before Iftar.
“We shifted him to Thumrait Hospital, then to Sultan Qaboos Hospital by an ambulance soon after the incident. It was very difficult and took a long time to reach the hospital. It was very sad to see him battling for his life.”
“He was suffering from internal bleeding after he was hit. On Wednesday he passed away. I saw him two hours before the incident when he left his house. For what he did, it’s a national duty and everyone should take the initiative to help others. Inshallah, he is a martyr, as he was doing the duty for his nation. He was a very polite and lovable person. He always remained with his parents, serving and helping them all the time,” added Saeed Al Mahri
His funeral procession in Thumrait attracted crowds of people. Tributes have poured in on social media, with the hashtag ‘Martryr, Hassan Al Mahri’ trending, as people from across Oman paid tribute to another local hero who displayed exceptional courage during the storm.
Cyclone Mekunu hit Oman during the last week of May, after weeks of buildup in the Indian Ocean. Mekunu reached its zenith at around 11pm on May 25 with wind gusts of 180kph, torrential rains, thunderstorms and eight-foot waves.
Timely preparation from Oman’s National Committee for Civil Defence, which began its emergency plan two weeks ago, was credited for so few deaths occurring in Oman.
However, roads have been damaged, some homes were flooded, and trees and communication poles were toppled by the cyclone.
Officials noted that the restoration of services took only 192 hours.
Beginning May 27, the authorities launched a coordinated response that fixed 100 per cent of the affected roads, brought power back to 98 per cent of Dhofar and restored 98 per cent of all communications within just eight days.
The Sultanate’s impressive display is expected to serve as a blueprint for countries around the world looking to effectively respond to natural hazards.