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 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.
"There were about 20 people there at the time of the accident, but no one had the courage to jump in after them," the father said.
"It's a big loss for us. I can't believe that she has left us," Rashed said.
Rashed said his daughter dreamt of becoming a medic in order to help poor people who could not afford medical treatment.
"She always spoke of one day opening a free clinic to help unprivileged people in Sri Lanka," he said.
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 said.
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 ROP.
Ain Jarziz is a tourist spot that is popular among people heading out for picnics.
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.
By Fahad al Mukrashi
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