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Family devastated after Dubai expat and children drown off Oman beach

Shashikant Mhamane drowned while trying to rescue young Shruti and Shreyas

Staff report

The family of an Indian engineer from Dubai who drowned with his two children in Oman have spoken of their devastation.

People in Oman have been told to avoid coastal areas. Photo: @RoyalOmanPolice via Twitter

Shashikant Mhamane, 42, and his children Shruti, 9, and Shreyas, 5, were swept away by waves that crashed onto a rocky outcrop near the popular Mughsail Beach on Sunday.

A video captured the moment that a wave struck the rocky beach, on which dozens of people were enjoying themselves, dragging the family into the water as it receded.

Embassy officials in Muscat said rescue teams had found the bodies of Mhamane and his son. His daughter has yet to be recovered.

Relatives in India said they were struggling to accept the news.

Sangappa Basargi described his nephew Shashikant as an avid traveller, who had gone to Oman to spend the Eid Al Adha holiday with family and friends from the western Maharashtra state.

“Everything is gone,” Mr Basargi told The National by telephone from Jath, a town in western India. “We have lost our support. He meant everything to us.

“He enjoyed travelling and always wanted to take people along with him. He took care of everyone and showed a lot of respect to people. There were so many people he helped.”

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Mr Basargi said he had watched the video of the accident that has since gone viral.

Shot by a tourist, the footage was filmed moments before Mhamane and his children were pulled out by waves from the rocks on which they stood at Mughsail.

“I saw the video and it was very upsetting,” the uncle said.

“I saw Shashikant pull his daughter out but then the waves dragged away the others. It was so sudden — everything happened in seconds. It was terrible.”

Mhamane’s wife is in critical condition in hospital and their elder daughter was also injured, the Indian consulate confirmed.

Mhamane had worked as an engineer with a company in Dubai where the family has lived for more than 16 years.

He had visited his home town in India last month to spend time with his mother, brother and other relatives.

In Jath, neighbours have placed banners and posters with the family’s photograph to express their condolences.

The message in the local Marathi language said Mhamane would always be remembered for his hard work and kind nature.

His brother and other relatives from India are in Oman to help the wife and daughter cope.

“People here feel part of the sorrow,” said neighbour Subhash Kohli from Jath.

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“We were very sorry to see them drown in the ocean. The family has been away in Dubai for many years but people here are close to them. We join in mourning their loss.”

Police in Oman said a total of 15 people were killed by drowning in rising waters in wadis and on beaches across the country, after heavy rain lashed pats of the region during the Eid Al Adha holidays.

Authorities had issued weather warnings, shut tourist sites and warned people to stay away from coastal areas.

The police said the barriers at Mughsail Beach would be strengthened to prevent people from walking on to the rock face during a storm.

“Fifteen people died including six children,” Maj Mohammed Al Heshami of Oman Police told Al Shabiba radio. “The family passed the protection fence and they were close to the cliff to take pictures and enjoy the view but they were not aware of the strong waves and the risks.”

Oman Civil Defence and Ambulance Authority said they received close to 50 reports about people trapped people due to incessant rain.

“We rescued 40 people from wadis,” said Maj Saeed Al Me’emri.

He said the fence at Mughsail would will altered “to prevent visitors from crossing”.

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