(MENAFN - Arab News) One of the fishermen rescued by the Saudi Border Guards off the coast of Qunfuda was thankful for being saved from certain death.
"We were rescued from almost certain death," said Ahmad Taher Tabal, to Al-Madina newspaper, while recounting the fearful moments just before the rescue..
The Border Guards saved seven Egyptian fishermen when their boat caught fire on Friday.
"While we were heading for Jazan, a fire erupted on board at 10 p.m. The fuel hose that was connected to the engine broke. This resulted in a leakage of gas," Tabal said, while attributing this to the fast spreading of fire.
"We removed all inflammable goods, used three fire extinguishers and poured buckets of water on the fire. Nevertheless, the fire almost engulfed the boat and we were unable to extinguish it," he said.
The fishermen sent an SOS to Egyptian authorities but did not have phone numbers of Saudi emergency forces or the Border Guards. "However, the Border Guards rushed to the spot and saved us. They gave us food, clothing and the best medical care possible after taking us to hospitals in Jeddah," he said. The Saudi forces also helped them to get in touch with their families.
Col. Saleh Al-Shahri, spokesman of the Border Guards and head of the forces' public affairs in Makkah province, said the boat was spotted about 100 nautical miles west of Qunfuda city.
"Praise to Allah, we found all of them alive in the boat and took them to Jeddah Islamic Port on a speedboat. They sustained light burn injuries, and one of them suffered from acute asthmatic conditions," he said.
Dr. Sami Badawood, director of health affairs in Jeddah, said the fishermen are now in stable condition. "When we heard about their rescue by the Border Guards, a specialized medical team was sent to the port to take them to hospital upon their arrival. An emergency alert was made at King Fahd Hospital to extend the best possible medical services without any delay," he said.
Five fishermen could be discharged from the hospital within 24 hours, the remaining two needed to stay for another 24 hours.