Extra patrols after expat's death at Oman tourist hotspot
July 21, 2015 | 9:28 PM
by Tariq Al Haremi

Muscat: Extra patrols by rescue personnel are being put in place at tourist hotspots after an expat drowned in the popular Wadi Shab.

The Ministry of Tourism made the decision to station patrols after the death at the well-known tourist attraction in Al Sharqiyah region on Saturday.

Rescue teams are now on-site at Mughsayl, in the Dhofar governorate and it is planned to post personnel at Wadi Bani Khalid to help prevent drowning incidents during holidays.

“Rescue teams are now available in Mughsayl, Dhofar as well as Wadi Bani Khalid,” explained the ministry in a tweet.

The ministry responded to a suggestion from a Twitter user, @5alfan90, a resident of Tiwi, who requested the Public Authority of Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) and the ministry to place rescue teams due to rising number of drowning incidents.

“I suggested putting rescue teams in Wadi Shab, Wadi Bani Khalid and Mughsayl,” said @5alfan90 speaking to the Times of Oman. He made this suggestion after hearing of the death of the expatriate in Wadi Shab.

In October 2014, nine people had drowned in different incidents across the wilayats during the Eid Al Adha holidays. In those incidents, an Omani national drowned in Wadi Shab and another drowned in Wadi Bani Khalid. Seven expatriates drowned at Yiti and Mughsayl beaches.

Having more rescue personnel is significant because of the ongoing Khareef season in Salalah as well as Eid and Renaissance holidays.

Meanwhile, a PACDA official said that the leading cause of drowning in Oman is neglect.

He explained that those who do not follow safety guidelines and regulations at all tourism spots will face legal action. “This could range from fine to time in jail,” he said.

“Some enter the water when there are strong currents, while others go to the deep end without knowing swimming,” he said.

PACDA also said that parents could face serious action if they failed to monitor their children at public beaches.

They could be tried under the “endangering a life in public” rule, he said.

Survival tips

Experts have advised people against going to places having strong currents and asked them to check the depth first.

They have cautioned people against venturing out into oceans, wadis and any body of water for that matter.

Ashraf Al Harbi, co-founder of Dolphin Swimming Centre and a swimming expert for the past ten years said, “Swimming is supposed to be relaxing, and by relaxing your muscles you get some form of natural flotation from your body.”

“Most drowning incidents are due to negligence. The person goes into the water without knowing how to swim or does not know how to handle himself when he gets cramps.”

“People do not understand that muscle cramps make it harder for them to swim and during a stomach cramp in water, a person’s body naturally tends to curl up forcing the head to be go down. So people need to be knowledgeable,” he said.

Al Harbi offered tips to avoid drowning. “If you are tired, roll on your back and relax. Some find it easy but others cannot relax and are more tense,” said Al Harbi.

“Another way is to find the nearest platform, or anything you could put your hands on, such as a wall. You will create friction with your hands which will act as a support. You can relax momentarily before you continue swimming,” he said.

He also advised non-swimmers to wear flotation devices while in water and to avoid swimming under waterfalls.


“Standing under waterfall is extremely dangerous due to the water flow in different directions creating a whirlpool effect trapping swimmers,” he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide. It accounts for 7 per cent of all injury-related deaths. It is estimated that 372,000 people lose their lives annually from drowning alone.

Reporter can be reached at [email protected]

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