Memorable selfie turns into tragedy for two teenagers in Oman
October 9, 2016 | 10:08 PM
by Rejimon K/[email protected]

Muscat: Heartbroken father Rashed Tuan was metres away when he heard the screams of his daughter Zainab and her friend Ruwane - moments later they were gone forever as an attempt to snap a memorable selfie turned into tragedy for the teenagers.

Read here: Two school girls drown while taking ‘selfie’ in Oman

Today the dad is battling with the loss of his talented 13-year-old daughter after the day out to a popular beauty spot became the worst of nightmares.

Tragically, nobody was able to rescue the girls as none of the adults present could swim.

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Zainab Tuan Rashed and her friend Ruwane Delsara Samaraweera drowned in the spring in Salalah on Saturday evening, while apparently trying to click selfies. “I never thought this could happen to my child. If I were a little more cautious and had prevented them from taking pictures there, I would not have lost her. I will never encourage any child to be so obsessed with taking pictures, especially at places where this could endanger one’s life,” Rashed said.

Zainab and Ruwane, both from Sri Lanka and Class VIII students in Salalah, drowned in the waters of the 0.47-kilometre-long Ain Garziz spring.

The girls, both 13 years old, were on a holiday trip to the spring with their parents and didn’t know how to swim.

“I was just a few metres away and had gone to fetch drinking water for them when I heard people screaming. Initially, I couldn’t understand what had happened but then I saw Ruwane’s father trying to pull out the girls from water. It was then that I realised the girls had fallen into water... I ran to the spot but by that time, they had drowned,” Rashed said.

He added that there were around 20 people nearby but no one had the courage to jump into the water to rescue the girls.

“Neither me nor Ruwane’s father knew how to swim. Others were reluctant to join in the rescue effort saying the spring was deep and swirls were dangerous.

We had to call the police but police divers took 15 minutes to reach.

All they could do was to pull out the bodies,” Rashed said. Zainab topped her class while Ruwane was a champion in sports at last year’s competitions at the Indian School Salalah. “Zainab was good in studies.

Her dream was to become a medic, and we shared that dream. She used to talk about pursuing higher studies in Sri Lanka.

I still can’t believe she has left us,” Rashed added. According to the principal of the Indian School Salalah, Ruwane was a bright student and excelled in sports. “Last year, she was our champion in track and field events.

Tomorrow, we will be hosting a condolence meeting at the school,” TR Brown, the school principal, said. Meanwhile, hospital sources announced that the girls were brought dead. Mehdi Ali, a Times of Oman reader, raised the issue of selfie-related fatal accidents and wondered when such tragic incidents will stop.

“Parents should take back the phones from their children when they go for a picnic, and while I know I may sound stupid, parents need to take certain decisions.

I mean it because it seems to have become a routine piece of news that someone or the other lost his or her life while taking selfies,” an anguished Ali said.

Another reader, Cecilia Gobio Marchesi, said people are now tired of these accidents caused by a craze for selfies.

“It has become some sort of a mania. Everyday someone invents something stupid and useless, and then everyone follows.

They feel like lesser mortals if they do not. We are caving in to a stupid craze, and are letting it to carry on.

My heart goes out to those poor girls. Sometimes, the price to pay and the sorrow we have to bear is just too high for such nonsense,” Marchesi said.

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