Narathiwat cops rescue drowning tots

Two policemen hailed as heroes after saving lives of two small children.

By Rapee Mama for Khabar Southeast Asia in Narathiwat

March 19, 2014
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Two quick-thinking police officers averted tragedy for Niloh Uma, his wife Sareeha Malong and their two children at the family's outing at Narathas Beach in Narathiwat Province late last month.

  • Niloh Uma sits bedside as his 3-year old daughter Noorhasin recovers after almost drowning at a beach in Narathiwat Province. [Rapee Mama/Khabar]

    Niloh Uma sits bedside as his 3-year old daughter Noorhasin recovers after almost drowning at a beach in Narathiwat Province. [Rapee Mama/Khabar]

"The children were playing in the sand as usual, but I took my eyes off them for just a moment. When I looked back up they were nowhere to be seen," Niloh told Khabar Southeast Asia at Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Hospital, referring to his 3-year-old daughter, Noorhasin, and 21-month-old son, Abdulbarsi at the February 27th outing.

"I panicked and ran as fast as I could to the water, where I could see that both of them were unconscious beneath the surface. I pulled them out of the water as fast as I could, but neither of them was breathing. I did not know what to do, how to help them," the father said.

A small crowd gathered and a panic ensued because no one knew how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Niloh recalled. But minutes later, Senior Sergeant Major Somchai Saiwad and Lance Corporal Thammajak Faikhong-ngen arrived.

The rescue came amid greatly strained relations in the Deep South between the predominantly Thai-Buddhist police and the Malay-Muslim majority.

The officers began CPR on the two children, the father said, compressing the boy and girl's chests and breathing into their little mouths until both children coughed up water.

"Words could never explain how happy I was when they regained consciousness and their eyes reopened," Niloh said. "I am so grateful to these two officers for saving the lives of both of my children. I think they have set a great example for police everywhere in how to help the public, and I am so glad we have officers like these ones around to protect us."

Noorhasin was released from the hospital after a few hours, and her brother stayed on a respirator in its Intensive Care Unit for three nights. He too has been released.

For their life-saving actions, the Narathiwat Provincial Police and the National Police Headquarters in Bangkok commended both of the non-commissioned officers.

"When we carried them to a beachside sala (gazebo), they were unconscious and their skin appeared pale, but their bodies were still warm. I felt for a pulse, and they were still there, so I knew I had to do something immediately to restore their breathing," Senior Sergeant Major Somchai told Khabar.

"I felt my hair stand on end when they opened their eyes and caught my gaze. … I have been a police officer here in Narathiwat for 17 years," he said, "and saving these kids is definitely the greatest accomplishment of my career."

"I am so proud at having helped these children from drowning, even if it was all in the line of duty," Thammajak told Khabar.

Reader Comments
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    • FADZLY
      March 30, 2014 @ 10:03:35AM
    • my eyes shed tears tears of joy n comfort to know both the children are alive to live to tell to thank in person the two policemen whom saved their lives! FADZLY

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