There was an outpouring of grief and sorrow on the social media over the deaths of six women, aged between 18 and 25, from a single family as they drowned in a pond in Ramah, 112km northeast of Riyadh on Saturday.
Civil Defense officers recovered four bodies and are looking for the remaining two, a department spokesman said.
Preliminary information showed that one of the six women fell in the pond while picnicking in Ramah valley and her five sisters succumbed to death while trying to rescue her. The six were cousins and daughters of two brothers.
Hearing the shocking news, one of the two fathers collapsed and was taken to hospital. The bodies have been kept in the hospital’s morgue.
Maj. Muhammad Al-Hammadi of Riyadh Civil Defense said the department dispatched a team of rescuers and divers to the scene soon after receiving news of the mishap. “Unfortunately, when our team reached the site we came to know all the six women had died,” he added.
Al-Hammadi expressed deep sorrow over the death of the six women and urged the public to be cautious about their safety and keep away from flooded valleys.
Maj. Gen. Jameel Arbaeen, director of Makkah Civil Defense, also called on parents to keep a close watch on children while picnicking in flooded areas.
“I plead to my brothers and sisters to be vigilant and watch their children when outdoors. When you go for a picnic, choose safe places and keep away from stagnant water pools and flooded valleys,” he said.
He added: “We should not risk our lives by swimming in these places. No matter how beautiful these water pools are and no matter how skillful or capable a person is, the beds of these pools have shifting sand where even a good swimmer can be trapped and die, let alone children and those who cannot swim.”
The general said: “You have to follow safety instructions and Civil Defense’s messages.”
Last year the Civil Defense recovered bodies of 45 people drowned in flood waters across the Kingdom.