Correction: Dubai drowning incident apparently happened two decades ago

August 14, 2015 • 7:58 am

I recently posted a story, taken from Emirates 24/7 News and other sources, that a father in Dubai let his daughter drown because he prevented male lifeguards from touching her lest they besmirch her honor.

However, reader Sean contacted me, pointing me to a piece on My Secret Atheist Blog—a piece that suggests that if the incident even occurred, it happened over two decades ago. Apparently the information came from a recollection by Lt. Col Ahmed Burqibah, Deputy Director of Dubai Police’s Search and Rescue Department, and, as the Daily Mail (via The Guardian online) reports:

Apparently the article – which originated on the website Emirates 24/7 – was from an interview in which lifeguards were asked to recount the strangest things that had happened to them. As someone who bothered to check out where it came from tells Monkey: “They mentioned this case of the Asian man who prevented his daughter’s rescue, but, and here’s the catch – it was from 1996.”

So this story, represented by me and the news media as new, is in fact old. And we have to question further whether the incident occurred at all given that it’s based on the memory of lifeguards. It could of course be verified, as the stories also reported that the father was charged with interfering with the lifeguards. There should be a record of that, but present circumstances suggest that we take the story with a grain of salt pending further information.

13 thoughts on “Correction: Dubai drowning incident apparently happened two decades ago

  1. Should you at least not go back and add something prior to first para. of the story you posted to reflect the above.

  2. Keeping track of news is like herding cats.

    present circumstances suggest that we take the story with a grain of salt

    Shouldn’t that be a grain of sand, or a slick of oil!?

    1. So why haven’t media peer reviewed/fact checked data bases?

      Yes, yes, “going for the _news_”, but it ain’t news if it is false. It is just reader bait.

      1. Sadly, I think that news brought to you by news gathering organizations with standards and journalistic integrity is being replaced by gossipy, junior-high lunchroom click-bait. In my experience working in broadcasting I saw very little of the former, while the latter was par for the course.

    1. If. The story has the aroma of propaganda surrounding it, so it would not surprise me in the slightest if it were false.

      It never sounded plausible to me in the first place that a man on shore could in any way prevent life guards from going to rescue a drowning woman. How would they even know he was really her father? How could he physically prevent two people from entering the water?

      1. Good points. Though if the father’s view was ingrained enough into the culture the lifeguards might have been much less inclined to struggle to reach the girl.

  3. Little respect though I have for the governments of the UAE states, I couldn’t really hold it against them if the records of a minor case nearly 20 years ago had gone in the bin. That it was counted as minor incident (seemingly) remains reprehensible, and the UAE governments remain as capable of gob-smacking incompetence today as they were yesterday. But losing (or expiring and deliberately disposing of) 20 year old records isn’t a stick I could beat them with.
    Exit, stage left, to examine my copious collection of UAE-beating sticks. It remains almost as good an argument for thermonuclear revocation of planning consent as London.

  4. This is what is great about science & rationalism – we investigate, then retract if shown to be incorrect. Would that religion did the same!

  5. Your follow-up and correction makes me appreciate your site as a source of reliable information even more. I noticed you also added the Update before the original post.
    I wish everyone did this.

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