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DOHA: The death of Qatari powerboat racer Rashid Abdullah Al Mansouri, during a Pleasure Boat race at the Katara beach on Saturday, has triggered a controversy, with a fellow Qatari racer lashing out at organisers of the event.
Al Mansouri was buried at the Abu Hamour graveyard yesterday, the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), which organised the race, said yesterday. Al Mansouri’s co-driver Hamad Jassim Al Mutawa was severely injured.
Participating in a popular programme on Qatar Radio — Watanee Al Habeeb, Sabah Al Khair — yesterday, a fellow racer, who introduced himself as Yousuf, disputed claims made by the QMSF that a Coast Guard rescue team was immediately available to provide emergency services to the victims. Al Mansouri died and Al Mutawa suffered injuries after their vessel flipped over while negotiating a curve, according to a QMSF statement.
“There was a big wave at the buoy No 3, combined with high speed wind, the boat flipped into the air. A Coast Guard rescue team and Red Crescent doctors tried their best to revive Al Mansouri,” Khalid bin Arhama Al Kuwari, head of Formula Racing at QMSF, told the media yesterday. Yousuf expressed surprise over reports in a section of the local media yesterday regarding rescue efforts and said that the claims were false.
“Which rescue team they are talking about? When the incident happened, the other racers tried to rescue the victims. There was no rescue team in the sea. The Red Crescent team was on the shore. There are cameras in every boat that can prove what I am saying,” said Yousuf.
“For more than 30 minutes, nobody tried to revive Mansouri. Only the Kuwaiti racers who brought him to the shore tried to do it,” he added.
He said a similar accident happened to him last Friday when his boat capsized on him and there was none at hand to rescue him. “Only the race commissioner came and asked me ‘are you OK?’ There is a camera footage that can prove what I am saying,” claimed Yousuf.
“Why don’t they give us a safe and secure place? Why are we Qataris being sent far away in open sea where there are waves and the wind, while the Americans and Italians are allowed to race in closed areas, under monitoring by helicopters and rescue teams?” he asked.
He said there used to be only two boats for rescue, while eight or nine are in the race.
“If five boats meet with accidents, whom they will rescue? How could they tell newspapers that there was a rescue team from the Coast Guard? We informed the Coast Guard about the accident and they said they didn’t have a rescue team. Only the Red Crescent had a rescue team and they were out in the land, not in the sea,” said Yousuf.