Tragedy-struck Omani dad warns of selfie dangers

Oman selfie girl
Zainab Tuaurashed, a 13-year-old girl who drowned along with her friend Ruwan in Oman's Ain Jarziz spring

The next time you staycation in Oman, watch where you take a selfie. A Sri Lankan man whose daughter drowned while taking a selfie in the Sultanate is the latest to speak of the dangers of the smartphone-fuelled trend.

The grieving father of Zainab Tuaurashed, the 13-year-old girl who drowned along with her friend Ruwan in Ain Jarziz spring in Salalah on Saturday evening, has recalled the dreadful moment of the tragedy in an emotional interview with Gulf News.

The death is the latest in a series of selfie-related accidents this year, including a German tourist who attempted to photograph himself as though he was leaping into a ravine in Machu Picchu this June. Several incidents have also been reported in India, which last year had more selfie-related deaths than anywhere else.

The Sri Lankan girls were posing for a selfie, when Zainab slipped and lost her footing. While trying to break the fall, she held on to Ruwan Deslara Herath Samarweera, also 13, causing both girls to fall into the spring.

Rescuers came as fast as they could but the girls, who could not swim, were already dead by the time help arrived. “I wish I was there next to her when she snapped the selfie, so I could catch her hand,” Rashed said on Monday. “I saw them gasping and gulping for air but the water pulled them in and they disappeared,” he added. None of the family members, who were attending a picnic, were able to rescue the girls as no one knew how to swim.

If I’d known…

Zainab was the top of her class in her local private school in Salalah. “She was smart, kind and liked by all her friends,” he added.

He said if he had known he would have confiscated his daughter’s mobile phone during the picnic. “I don’t want any one else to lose a loved one because of a selfie,” he said.

The tragedy was the first selfie-related death in the country, according to the Royal Oman Police.

Safety experts have called for ‘No Selfie Zones’ to be introduced around rugged tourist spots after the tragic incident, but authorities say there are no such plans yet.