Muscat: A year ago he watched helplessly as his little girl was swept away by the sea to her death, now as school holiday season arrives in Oman and children think of days out at the beach, her grieving father has heartfelt warning for parents.
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It has been 12 months since the tragic drowning of three-year-old Marwa who was swept away while playing in the sea in Shinas.
Public schools have ended their academic year with private schools following them soon. As the temperature rises, families could take advantage of the summer break to cool off at one of Oman’s beaches.
Marwa’s father Ahmed Abdullah Al Balushi said that parents should intensely supervise their children while on the beach and not let them out of their sight because “it takes moments for big things to happen.”
“They should be under intense supervision; especially (monitor) the weather because nobody knows what the situation is like inside the sea,” said Al Balushi, father of young Marwa.
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“You could say that it is fine (on land), but inside the sea it’s different,” he added. He also advised parents to take precautions and always keep safety equipment in case of an emergency.
“Safety equipment is necessary if someone takes his family and children (to the beach). Also parents should always be in the water with them,” said Al Balushi.
The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) had repeatedly reminded people to follow the safety guidelines near beaches and touristic destinations. It often warns the public not to venture into the sea if conditions are dangerous.
A top official from PACDA said that children should not be left alone by water, be it a beach or a swimming pool.
“Parents or guardians should always be with them. Moreover, people should go to beaches and swimming pool only with somebody who knows swimming and they should be cautious,” the PACDA official added.
Al Balushi also advised parents to take up swimming lessons in order to act quickly for their children’s sake.
At the time, Al Balushi did not know how to swim and when asked whether he learned, he said, “I learned a little, but there aren’t institutions to teach swimming here.”
Last year, PACDA and swimming experts advised people to stay away from beaches, wadis and swimming pools if they do not know how to swim and stay alert of the changing tides and weather.