Australian medics donate boards, advice in honor of Huraa victims

Two rescue boards have been donated by an Australian paremedic and shire council in memory of the four Hiriya students and their principal who drowned on a September 10 school fisheries science excursion.

The long boards were arranged by a Lotus Special Casualty Access Team paramedic in cooperation with the New South Wales Sutherland Shire council. A report from Australian publication The Leader indicates that the boards were flown into Male’ on Wednesday, October 20 to support safety management practices on local beaches.

Australia is known globally for its surfing culture. Attached to that reputation is a savvy sense for water rescue. Australia’s own Surfers’ Medical Association (SMA) reportedly flies doctors and paramedics to Maldive islands twice each year, providing health workshops and medical equipment.

When four female students and the principal of Hiriya school drowned while on a fisheries science snorkeling trip off of Huraa island, awareness of the lack of school safety procedures and equipment was raised at the local and government levels.

The students were snorkeling in waters used by for national defense training, which are known for having very strong currents.

Although police and MNDF forces were called immediately to the site of the incident, they were criticised for being unable to reach the island until long after the critical moments.

Instead, the bodies of ninth grade students Nash-ath Saeed, Mariyam Naza, Aishath Saniha, Mariyam Shaiha and principal Ali Nazim were brought to Male’ on a speedboat from nearby Four Season Kuda Hura resort.

SMA member Paul Featherstone told The Leader that Huraa island had no rescue boards at the time of the Hiriya drowning, and he hoped the donation would make a difference in the future.

The SMA team is expected to deliver water safety and education advice from Sutherland Shire beach operation manager Brad Whittacker, along with the long boards. Paramedic Harry Gatt added that a meeting with the education minister has been scheduled to discuss risk management procedures.

“We really need to help educate them about water safety,” Mr Gatt was quoted as saying. “The community is just devastated by what happened.”

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5 thoughts on “Australian medics donate boards, advice in honor of Huraa victims”

  1. @ aa they didn't have to donate anything! Maldives should pull its head out the sand and start doing things for itself instead of relying on others. Still don't understand that living in a country surrounded by water why it isn't obvious to the government that swimming lessons should be compulsory.

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  2. "I think Aussies could have done better than that."

    Que? You ought to learn how to thank others for helping you, whatever form that may be in.

    We can learn a lot from the Aussies and their resourcefulness. Of course, they are a rich country and can afford to spend a lot of money on safety equipment, training and paying wages for life guards etc.

    We have to live within the constraints of our tiny country, but let's teach the next generation better than we did the last one.

    Even if we're surrounded by water, it isn't so easy to teach swimming to all kids! The water around is a dangerous place and you can't just take along a group of kids and hope to teach them swimming like that. It has to be organised around "swimming pools"; which doesn't mean expensive fresh water pools in every school! It can be done with fenced, safe areas around the local island waters, but still requires startup fuding and maintenance. We are short of such funding.

    How many MPs would donate their newly found MRf 20,000.00 / month towards teaching kids how to swim? I bet none would!

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  3. Thank you Australia people.

    Aside from the country as a whole, the Australian government and its charitable programs have given us a lot of assistance in developing our institutions and infrastructure.

    Yes Australia can do more and so can we. We cannot demand assistance but rejoice for it.

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