The father of a child who died after falling into an 8-meter (26-foot) hole outside of an Al Sadd hotel last year has testified in court about what happened, Al Watan reports.
It was previously reported that the three-year-old Jordanian boy was playing with his brother when he fell into the hole outside of the hotel his family was dining in. He died after being in a coma for 20 days, his father, earlier identified as Mohamed Nawayisa, said.
Employees of the hotel are in court on charges of neglecting safety and health regulations. They have pleaded not guilty, but offered to pay the blood money for the child, which is typically $55,000 (QR200,000) in Qatar.
Sharing his account of events, Nawayisa said that he and his children were dining with his sister at the hotel sometime in November 2012. As the family prepared to depart, the kids began to play in front of the hotel entrance, which was poorly lit. The father called his children when the taxi driver arrived, but found his young son missing and his older son “horrified.”
Qatar Tribune translates:
“When asked, my elder son narrated the entire story of his falling into the open manhole. I went crazy and did not know what to do. I am not a swimmer and didn’t know the depth of the sink. Yet I jumped into the manhole to find him, but to no avail.
Later, a young man and a hotel employee also jumped into the manhole to find my baby but failed. On my request the hotel staff dived into the manhole once again and after 20 minutes of struggle, he was able to fish out my suffocated child,” the man told the court.
The man went on:
“With the arrival of the ambulance, I thought that my child would be saved but it did not happen. Water was taken out of his stomach, but his heart stopped working.
A month after the tragedy, another toddler in Qatar fell into a manhole and died. The child, a three-year-old Omani girl in Al Wakra, reportedly fell into a sewer during a cleanup conducted by municipal workers. The workers apparently did not notice she had fallen in and secured the manhole cover before leaving around 8pm.
As the child’s parents and neighbors searched for her, one uncovered the manhole and found her deceased inside.
Qatar has been campaigning to raise awareness of hazards facing children at home, including choking, accidental poisonings and burns. But residents say stricter safety measures are also needed at community swimming pools and in and around construction sites.
Nawayisa told the court his child would have been saved if care was taken to plug the manhole.
Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by Peter Dutton