Survivor recalls US Navy attack
A fisherman who was on a vessel that came under fire from the US Navy off the Dubai coast this week has told how he thought he was going to die.
“It was a miraculous escape from death. I saw my colleague die and I thought I was going to die too. It all happened so fast it was terrifying,” 35-year-old Muthu Kannan murmured from his bed at Rashid Hospital.
For Kannan, Monday started just like a normal day, but little did he know it would turn out to be the most disastrous of his 15 years as a fisherman in the UAE.
Kannan is one of three Indian crew of the UAE-registered Tharath fishing vessel who were seriously injured after being shot at by the US Navy off the port of Jebel Ali, an incident that killed another crew member.
“We were all scared. I thought I was going to die,” said Kannan, who sustained a gunshot wound to his right hand.
Using a heavy machine gun, the USNS Rappahannock opened fire at the fishing vessel, carrying six Indian crew and two Emiratis, as it sailed very close to the Americans. “I didn’t hear the sound of the gun but I saw my colleague collapsing. Then I felt something sharp piercing through my right hand. I suddenly saw a rain of bullets so I took cover because I didn’t know what was going on and why we were being shot at,” said Kannan.
In less than three minutes, his colleague lay dead while he and two others also injured in the shooting cried in pain.
The surviving crew contacted authorities on the mainland and an air ambulance rushed to the scene.
Doctors at Rashid Hospital told 7DAYS yesterday that all the injured crew were now in a stable condition after undergoing surgery.
The US Navy has defended its actions, saying that it acted in self defence after the fishing boat kept moving closer to their vessel despite several warnings, including the sounding of the sirens.
This account has been denied by the surviving fishermen.