(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) A Jumeirah Beach outing turned tragic for an Indian family in Dubai as a father-of-three died in a drowning accident early morning on Saturday.
John Preetam Paul, 40, had gone to take a dip in the water to wash off sand from his body when the tragedy happened, according to family and friends. His three children - Susan, 10; Aaron, 8; and Ryan, 6 - were also with him along with his sister and husband who were on a visit. They were also with a friend.
Paul is survived by his wife Eviline, 40.
"The police has confirmed that the cause of the death was cardiac arrest,"Jijo Jalal, Paul's former boss told Khaleej Times. Paul worked as a Sales Head for Gilli FM, a UAE-based radio station. He has been a UAE resident for more than 14 years.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Eviline said Paul, the kids and the visiting family had gone to the beach early in the morning. "Just before leaving, he ventured back into the sea to take a dip. The family noticed his body floating in the water within minutes after he left them on the shore."
"I still don't know how it happened. He is a very good swimmer," said Eviline fighting tears.
"I always go with him and the kids to these outings. But since his sister was visiting, I stayed at home with my mother, and thought it would be good to give the brother and sister some quality time," said Eviline, who works for a real estate company in Dubai.
Paul's sister had flown in to Dubai on Friday to spend time with her brother and family.
According to Jalal, family members and other visitors pulled Paul's body out of the water and called for an ambulance.
"He was rushed to the Saudi German Hospital but he could not be saved," Jalal added.
Paul's body is now kept in a mortuary in Al Qusais. His wife said the body will be repatriated on Sunday to his home city of Bengaluru in South India.
"I have to go to the embassy tomorrow and some formalities are pending. After the embalming of the body is done, me and kids will also accompany the body and fly to Bangalore for his last rites," Eviline said.
Colleague and long-time friend Jalal remembered Paul as a doting father and "someone who was always willing to help others."
"Paul was a devoted dad. He loved his kids very much. He, in fact, lived for the children," said Jalal who has known Paul for many years.
"He was a family man who was always keen to spend time with kids. He would never miss a weekend outing with family. He was a close friend, more like a brother to me. He had worked for me for many years. He has a sweet and pleasant personality. I still cannot believe he is gone," said Jalal.
A Disneyland holiday for the kids was his dream
It was Paul's biggest dream to give his kids a Disneyland holiday but he is gone too soon, said his grieving wife Eviline.
"He would always say that his ultimate dream was to take the kids to the Disneyland. But we had some financial issues and he was waiting to sort it all out for the big holiday plan."
Eviline said she is worried how the kids will react as they we "very very close to their father."
"That is my biggest worry. Aaron has been crying a lot and he is traumatic because he saw his father's body floating and people pulling him out."
The mother said her two other kids are still coming to terms with the tragedy. "They are not even crying. I think they haven't understood the loss yet."
Eviline said she is planning to come back to Dubai and secure the future of her children.
"I love India. But Dubai is where we started our married life. I have so many memories of him and of our life. I cannot think of leaving the country."
But she would think of settling in India only if living in Dubai is financially unviable.
"My children is studying in Winchester School. I don't know whether I can afford it. I am not sure what is in store for us."
Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.