A firefighter died during the firefighting efforts at Dubai Airport on Wednesday, the General Civil Aviation Authourity (GCAA) confirmed.
The GCAA confirmed that there were no fatalities among the 282 passengers and the 18 crew members on board.
The statement said the firefighter lost his life while saving the lives of others, “On behalf of the General Civil Aviation Authority, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased. I salute his ultimate sacrifice that kept many from harm’s way. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of GCAA.
Gulf News learnt that the firefighter was Jasem Al Beloushi from Ras Al Khaimah.
A friend of Al Beloushi posted his photo and wrote in Arabic, “We belong to god and to god we shall return, death of firefighter Rashid Al Beloushi during the plane fire incident in Dubai. May god have mercy on him.”
Jasim Eisa Al Baloushi was part of the Civil Defence force containing the situation after flight EK521 from India crash-landed at Dubai International Airport shortly before 1pm, and burst into flames.
Al Balosuhi was buried after sunrise at the Suleiya graveyard following the funeral prayer at Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed mosque, not far from the family home in Ras Al Khaimah.
He was 27.
Al Baloushi was the eldest of five siblings – three brothers and two sisters. On Thursday, family and friends paid rich tributes, saying his sacrifice made them and the country proud. Praises were also showered on him by well-wishers on social media from across the country.
“Ever since he was a small boy, Jasim loved to help people, regardless of their nationality, religion or social status. I think that’s why he joined Civil Defence, so he could serve his country and protect all its residents. I miss him dearly and I’m really proud of him,” said his father Eisa Al Baloushi.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday praised the martyr on Twitter, describing men like him as Emiratis who “many generations can be proud of.”
Ahmad Abbas, a cousin of Al Baloushi, who also works in Civil Defence, said he was the last person from the family to speak with him. “I had called him shortly before the incident, saying ‘let’s meet up soon’. I was on my way to work when I got a call about Jasim. When I showed up at work, I learnt he had been martyred. Jasim was the go-to person when anyone needed help. On Wednesday, he made the highest sacrifice in the line of duty.”
Abbas added: “He never feared any danger when helping others. I remember how he used to always say: ‘O Abbas, let us pray to become martyrs in our duty’.”
Al Baloushi planned to buy a home of his own so he could settle his family before considering marriage or before continuing his higher education, his father added. “He was always like that – putting family first.”