RIYADH/LONDON: A Saudi man has been described as a “hero” and an “inspiration” after rescuing another man from drowning in a river in the UK.
Turki Al-Shammari, a student at the University of Central Lancashire, saved Dean Lowe from the River Ribble in Preston, England, after he had entered the water to try to rescue his family’s dog. Al-Shammari had been out feeding birds in a park when he heard the commotion.
“I looked down into the river and found the man fighting for his life trying not to drown. I jumped immediately and swam to him,” he told Arab News.
The two struggled for 15 minutes to get out of the river. “I went to the strong waters of the river and took the hand of the man. He pushed against a wall near the river and we went together out of the river, after which the police and ambulance arrived. The man cried and hugged me, and thanked me for saving his life,” Al-Shammari said.
“The police took the initiative to contact me after I left the site to return to my home. I was surprised afterwards that there was a lot of communication (as a result of) what I had done, including from the Saudi Embassy in the UK. And the man who I rescued called me and asked to meet me and thank me.”
Al-Shammari received a call from Saudi Ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar, and was invited by Cultural Attache Dr. Amal Fatani to visit the embassy in London. “These are the brave sons of the nation,” Fatani tweeted.
Lowe’s partner Jessica Williams took to Facebook to share photos of the family thanking Al-Shammari, and to express her gratitude.
“Turki … is a hero and a beautiful man. He saved Dean Lowe’s life, he saved Ella’s father, my partner,” Williams said.
“We couldn’t thank him enough, he brought us gifts, what a humble man, we want to give him the world and he wouldn’t (accept) Dean’s gifts except for a balloon and a card, he said he (was just) a human doing (a) humane thing!” she added.
“What an inspiration, I thank you so much Turki, you’re an amazing person and we have a friend for life.”
Al-Shammari’s father told Arab News that he found out what his son had done via social media.
“I saw a tweet on Twitter about the story, and I recognized my son’s face. I called him and told him he did the right thing,” the father said, adding that his son was a student at the International College of Management and Engineering in Oman before moving to the UK to complete his senior year.
“We live in Jubail near the Arabian Gulf, and there are two swimming centers in the city. My son has always been an avid swimmer and diver. He has loved swimming since he was a child.”
The Saudi Embassy in the UK tweeted: “HRH the Ambassador was delighted to be able to speak with Turki Al-Shammari, a young Saudi student who bravely jumped into a river to save the life of a man in Preston. We wish Mr Dean Lowe a speedy recuperation and the safe recovery of his dog.”