No speedboat available near Huraa after drowning incident, say police

No speedboat was available near Huraa following the drowning of four students and principal of Hiriya School, Police Chief Inspector Abdulla Nawaz told media today.

Police were informed of the incident at 9:48am in the morning and the police duty officer immediately called the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), and was informed that MNDF officers were on it, Nawaz said.

The four female students and the principal of ‘Hiriya’ drowned while on a fisheries science study trip. Police and MNDF were called immediately but were criticised for being unable to reach the island until long after the incident.

About an hour after the drownings, the bodies of the students and principal were brought to Male’ on a speedboat from nearby Four Season Kuda Hura resort.

Speaking in a press conference, Nawaz said that information of the incident was passed to the police station on the island of Himmafushi, approximately 3 km from Hura.

Nawaz said that Himmafushi Police Station’s Head tried to hire a speedboat from the island but because it was Friday morning, no speedboats were available.

He said police then called the Island Council of Hura and requested they make a request to Four Seasons Kuda Hura resort, the council had already done so.

Nawaz said that although the police could not arrive to the island on time, it was to be noted that police went to the jetty in Male’ and received the bodies, and carried them to the hospital.

Nawaz also said that police were still investigating the incident and had not been able to question any students who witnessed the incident, as they were traumatised and not ready to talk about it.

Meanwhile, today the parliament’s ”241′ Security Services Committee summoned Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh and Chief of Defence Force Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel to question them about the lateness in providing service of the forces when called for help.

Newly-formed Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP and Media Coordinator Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that Faseeh and Moosa were summoned to the committee to clarify the truth of the various accusations that the forces had neglected their duty.

“Nawaz failed to tell the media how long it took the police to reach the island, and he has not answered queries made by the journalists,” he said. “That’s why it was important to sit down with them and clarify the media reports and other allegations on police.”

Nihan said that this was a national issue but “the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs disrupted the meeting today and the meeting had to be cancelled.”

He alleged that the government had poorly treated the family of the only girl who survived in the incident, Hawwa Ali, by asking them to pay her medical bills for the first two days.

“But the girl happens to be in my constituency and I called government senior officials and requested them to do it a better way, and now I think it is arranged and the government is assisting the family with everything,” he claimed.

Nihan said that the girl’s family had requested the government to move her to another ward because she was currently in the children’s ward at IGMH and the sound of children cry was making her recall the incident.

“She was the only person who saw everything, she heard the children crying for help, she saw the girls drowning right in front of her,” Nihan said.

Hawwa was a friend of Aishath Shaniha, who died in the incident. Hawwa almost drowned but was rescued by the school principal and was holding a rope while the principal attempted to rescue the other students that were drowning.

Nihan claimed that police “would have had 20 speedboats in the islands” during the former government.


12 thoughts on “No speedboat available near Huraa after drowning incident, say police”

  1. NIhan kaley galhi vaahaka nudahkaa, kon mehen konme rashehgaa Police speedboat eh onnaakah nujehey ei feasible kamehves noon. Kan higaageh maaka gina vaguthu faaithu nuve emeehun Male' genevifa ehvanee.

    Dhathuru hamajeh si meehun parliament ah gengosgen dhen suvaalu kuranveenu lifejacket nethuneemaya, ragalhah salaamathee fiyavalhaa ekugai dathuru rayvifaa nethumun.

  2. Why is it that the authorities are still failing to give all the information correctly and properly. Why can't the MNDF say exactly how long did it take them to arrive at Hura for rescue? Why did they send a speed boat in this case, why not the MNDF helicopter? Surley it seems MNDF didn't know how to prioritise the means of transport to send for rescue and they didn't know how to judge the severity of the incident? Did MNDF inform the school authorities about the place where the students were going, wave forms, speed, water depht etc? Surelfy MNDF should have known better those waters as they used that area for training and hence should have informed and warned the school authorities. Last but not the least, it is absolutely disgusting to know that the IGMH asked the only survivor of this incident to pay her hospital bills. And they should have thought about the psychological trauma and depression the girl would be in after this incident and kept her in a private room away from other patients. Why kind of health care do we have in our country. Our children still have to pay for their medical services including the emergency services, this is absolutley crazy. God help this nation.

  3. Why is everyone trying to accuse someone else. Why can't all the citizen of Maldives become one and try to make this place a better place ? either maumoon or Anni would have saved a life in this matter but if they were provided with proper safety measure many lives could have being saved: People please get together !! safety first!

  4. Nihan, don't lie. Officials of Education Ministry were at the hospital all the time. They attended to all the students including Hawwa Ali. Deputy Minister Dr. Nazeer and Jameela Ali with the help of their colleagues took charge till Minister Shifa arrived from Australia. It's not because you or any other MP called them. In fact I couldn't help but laugh when I saw MPs hanging around in the hospital and Hiriyaa School. Please stop the show and do something useful.

    You too Yaameen Abdul Gayyoom. Don't use this tragic incidence to bring people in to your party. I don't think the president has to shorten his official trip abroad and come to Male. This is a democratic government and not a one man show. The president personally called the families of the deceased. He decided that the national flag to be at half mast for 3 days. The Vice president visited the hospital and school. VP addressed the nation on behalf of the government. Shifa shortened her official trip and came as this involves her ministry.

    If you are so keen to make comparisons read this. There was a tragic incidence in Thaajuddeen School in 2003. I saw how the whole situation was handled then and this time too. Minister of Education Ismail Shafeeu who was also a leading scout and Deputy minister Shaugy never supported the shocked Thaajuddeen community like how the current Minister of Education, Shifa, deputy Nazeer and Superintendent Jameela are supporting. They just left the school to fend for themselves. And that too (as Nihan is saying now) was a national tragedy too. And where were you Yaameen?

  5. What's all this about MNDF and Police. May be they were late going to Huraa. But the 4 students and principal died all too soon. They wouldn't have been saved unless there were people to help already in the site. Having said this, I hope the MNDF and Police do a thorough investigation of sequence of events that took place after they received the first call for help. Also let the public know of the procedures. I'm sure they will verify if it's a genuine call or a prank too.

  6. It can not be said and written often enough - so I repeat it here:

    Safety First on Wed, 14th Sep 2011 12:01 PM

    Why is everyone trying to accuse someone else. Why can’t all the citizen of Maldives become one and try to make this place a better place ? either maumoon or Anni would have saved a life in this matter but if they were provided with proper safety measure many lives could have being saved: People please get together !! safety first!

    by the way:
    could those girls swim well?
    did they wear life vests if not?
    was there any (additional) security personal on the beach?
    It should not be blamed on MNDF, police or who ever - they did not organize this event.

  7. This has got nothing to do with MNDF or the Police. The Government is being idiotic in try to form a committee headeh by the Ministry of Defence.
    This has got nothing to do with them.
    Someone talks about helicopters etc, and that is simply being idiotic. You cannot just fly a helicopter and saves life in this case. It would be too late and anyway MNDF has one and it is based in Gan.
    This is Hura and the Island Council should be responsible for dedicating areas for public swimming etc and not the MNDF.
    Maldives should form a "Health and Safety Executive" as in other countries that would make legal regulations in all these matters.
    Without a legal basis nothing proper would be done.
    The MNDF or Police cannot be in all places all the time and surely cannot have speed boats etc in all the islands.
    The children would be dead anyway and it is only following a Health and Safety regulations that we can avoid these kinds of tragedies.

  8. If anyone failed in this incident it was Youth Ministry that manages the place. Lots of people use the camp every weekend and holiday. So I believe that it is youth Ministry that dredged the shallow area to make it deep that should be responsible for placing life guards at the site.

  9. I simply cannot understand that people living on islands surrounded by water cannot swim properly.

    I have been to the Maldives many times and experienced myself strong currents, but was advised by my diving instructor how to handle such a critical situation.

    My heart goes out to the families of the victims.

  10. Too little too late!
    Anyways who cares about a speed launch in the area! My question is why weren't there a life guard present to give CPR at the shore. You take 30 odd students on a trip where you know they will be swimming. Logic and common sense requires that you be prepared for swimming related mishaps like drowning. Honestly it baffles me that no one was on the beach qualified to swim /rescue and give CPR!! Anywhere else in the world you will be sued like hell which forces you to learn the lesson fast and not repeat this again. Here, we'd talk about it, ooh and aaah about it and forget about it till the next lot dies.

  11. Friday- Trip to nearby un-inhabited island for over night
    Saturday- Fishing trip at night
    Sunday- Visit a friend in next island
    Monday- Go women fishing
    Tuesday- test the engine and boat speed
    Wednesday & Thursay- Boat in service.

    Thats when the police are given a speed boat. I am not accusing the whole system and all pple to be so but thats the 80% practice in over all where ever boats are being provided. Theres somethn that needs to come before the speed boats..logistics and control. Its not feasable to give a speed boat to all islands...I beleive schools are more important. The resorts nearby to any island respond to such calls always and treat as top priority. specialy on thngs related to human life..This all looks like a lot of communication errors and also friday sleep till afternoon

  12. a school trip turning into a drowning tragedy does not make it a national disaster. yes, four children and the principal died, and it is a tragedy, but it doesnt make it IMHO something that needs to be given the status of a national strategy.

    there are rules and regulations (and common sense!) about taking 32 students out on a field trip. parents send their children to school because they trust the school authorities. this is going one step further. they are allowing the school to take their precious children out of the island and away for a day spent in the sea. school authorities should have taken their job seriously, and made adequate preparations and taken necessary precautions.

    where there enough adults per child? where there checks to see how many could swim (children and adults)? where there life vests? was there a life guard? was there an emergency procedure set up and informed? was the site properly inspected and studied prior to the visit? was the police and coast guard summoned immediately? and by following necessary procedure?

    let us await the inverstigation findings to understand more about what happened.


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