Days after two Filipino expats in Qatar drowned while crabbing in Al Khor, a friend who survived the ordeal is sharing the story of what happened.
Samuel Delarierte and Albert Aquino, both engineers at Parsons Corp., died on the evening of the first day of Eid Al-Adha, Oct. 15. Survivor Edgar Mortel has written about the tragedy in efforts to comfort the relatives of the two men left behind.
UPDATE | Tuesday, Oct. 22
According to Parsons, a memorial service for the two men will be held at the Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Doha tonight, Oct. 22nd, at 7pm.
The company has also released a statement paying tribute to the men. It gives more details about their careers in Qatar:
“Samuel joined Parsons in 2009 beginning his career in Oman and transitioning to the Education City project in Qatar as a construction specialist. Alberto, also a construction specialist on the Education City project in Qatar, joined Parsons in 2012.
Both Samuel and Alberto will be missed not only professionally, but also personally. On behalf of everyone at Parsons, including those who had the privilege to know and work with Samuel and Alberto, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to their family and friends during this difficult time.”
According to his account, which has been distributed via email by Parsons and shared on Facebook, Delarierte and Aquino went fishing for crabs with two other friends in Al Khor last Tuesday night. The men had waded out some distance from shore before they realized the tide was coming in:
“I noticed that the water started rising. I shouted to Ronald and Albert who were about 15-20 meters away that we need to go back and maybe it’s going to be high-tide. Only, then, we realized that we have gone too far from the shore. We went very far as we couldn’t see the shores anymore. We couldn’t see the mangroves. It was around 11:30pm. So, we followed that blinking light of the tower which was our guide to get back to the same place where we started. As we were walking back, the water started rising suddenly.”
Mortel goes on to explain that the group eventually found themselves completely submerged, and were forced to swim – or, in Mortel’s case (because he couldn’t swim), float, in what they believed to be the direction of the shore:
“I was observing the position of the stars with respect to mine but still the same. I was thinking maybe we were just going round and round in circles. Then I heard Ronald shouting again, “Albert!Sam! Are you ok?” And when they did not answer, I was really worried that bad things already happened to them.”
Several hours later, Mortel and Ronald’s cries for help were heard by a fisherman in a passing boat, who threw a rope down to the men and pulled them aboard. According to the account, Ronald had found his friend Samuel drowned in the water, but had decided to tow him along with him, so that his body would be safe. Albert Aquino’s body was discovered some time later.
An official at the Philippines Embassy said both Delarierte and Aquino are financially supporting relatives back home. Mortel explained that he wrote the account so that their families would know what had happened to them:
“I couldn’t bear to think that such a harmless desire to seek what little joy we could have here in Qatar would result in such a terrible tragedy. What a waste and unnecessary loss to us and most especially to their families – being the breadwinners that they are. How hard it was to talk to their wives and cousins and friends to explain everything from beginning to end. But we will do it so that everybody will know their story. “
The men’s bodies could be flown back to the Philippines this week, the official told Doha News. If police release the bodies immediately, the process could take only seven days, he added.
Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by Sorin Furcoi