Parents release last photo of drowned Emirati boy
It was supposed to have been a pleasure cruise for a happy family on their holiday.
This photograph of Hamad Abdullah Al Ali was taken as he was dancing and playing with other children on a boat trip up the Nile in Egypt on Friday.
Just minutes later, the happy, smiling five-year-old lost his balance, fell overboard and drowned. The picture, one of the last few taken of Hamad, was given to 7DAYS by his grieving father yesterday as he laid his beloved son to rest in Sharjah.
Prayers were said at Al Sahaba Mosque, which was full to capacity with people who came to mourn Hamad and support his loved ones.
Later, surrounded by family and friends at the family home, Hamad’s father, Abdullah Al Ali, 51, said: ‘All this is Allah’s will, He does whatever He wishes. It is painful but I have to accept the reality.”
Hamad’s brother, Muhammad, 20, added: “Hamad was shy but a very likeable child. He was everyone’s darling in this house and everyone can feel his absence.”
Hamad had been due to return to school on Sunday. His father added: “He loved school, he was looking
forward to seeing his teachers.”
Hamad’s body was discovered by a fisherman on Sunday, almost 40 hours after he fell off the cruise boat that his family had hired for a picnic.
On Monday mourners broke down in tears as he was placed in a tiny grave. Many of them were still struggling to comprehend how a family outing could have turned into such a tragedy.
Hamad’s father, Abdullah Al Ali, 51, said the family left for Egypt on August 24 for their annual vacation. They own property in Al Munib, near the Pyramid Village in Cairo.
On Friday they were invited to a birthday party on a boat cruise with two other families. “There were about 15 of us on the boat, excluding the captain,” said Al Ali.
“I was seated directly opposite Hamad who was playing and dancing with other children. They were all happy. We were five minutes away from the shoreline in Al Maadi when Hamad stood on the chair and tried to lean on the top rail but it was too low. I saw him somersault into the water.
“My instincts were to jump in and rescue my son but I was prevented by the captain. The waves were rough and it was too dark.”
Al Ali said they called the Egyptian authorities but it was four hours until they arrived. He also called the UAE Embassy, which immediately contacted fishermen in the area and a search for Hamad was launched.
“There were hundreds of fishermen on the river searching for my son,” Al Ali said. “Almost 40 hours later, a fisherman called me to tell me that he had discovered a child’s body 30km down the river in Shibra Al Khaima area.
“He had handed over the body to the police who took it to the hospital. When I reached the hospital I confirmed that it was my son’s body.”
Al Ali said he cannot understand how a boat could be allowed to sail without life jackets or rescue ropes or any emergency teams nearby. He added that he would never set foot on Egyptian soil again and said the family plan to sell their home in Cairo.
Al Ali also thanked the UAE authorities for helping look for Hamad.