He goes to the beach by the Hithadhoo Regional Hospital every single day.
Lost into his imaginary world, he watches the magnificent waves crashing on the shore. However, he is unable to hear the waves crashing.
This is the heroic story of the man who saved young Ali Raif, 16, after a rip current pulled him out, along with his two friends. Hassan Hussain is his name.
A man thread in red stood in the ‘Kin’bivalu’ area of Hithadhoo. When asked about the man’s identity, the islanders replied “that is the man who saved Raif’s life, Hassan”, everything about this intrigued me and I tried to get an opportunity to speak with him. But as he is both hearing impaired and deprived from speech, I asked myself, how?
I walked up to him and using my hands, gestured towards the waves. He immediately understood that I was talking about the 14-year-old Mayameen Ali and 17-year-old Ali Fahmy, who has been missing since going swimming on Saturday.
Hassan began to draw the tragic picture using the only way he can communicate, through hand gestures. I was only able to understand what he was saying with the help of his sister, Zuleykha Hussain, 47. She translated to me, what Hassan was saying through his gestures.
According to Zuleykha, Hassan had gone to the beach that day to go for a swim with the gigantic waves. That day, Hassan had met Khadheeja Hussain’s husband and their two children, who had been swept to the seashore by the day’s uninviting waves.
Khadheeja had told him that three children were swimming when they arrived at the beach but that she did not know their identities. Zuleykha said it was Khadheeja’s child that asked him to check on the said children, after the family could not spot them following a humongous wave.
This was the moment the three kids cried for their lives, after being caught in a rip current. They were pulled into the sea about 2000 feet away from where Hassan stood with Khadheeja’s family. He did not hesitate for even a bit, and ran towards the sea.
"He was shown the three children, he ran after he was told" Zuleykha translated upon Hassan's gestures.
Hassan ran and jumped into the sea, and pulled the one closest to the shore, which was Raif. After saving him, Hassan searched for Fahmy and Mayameen but could not see them.
“The boy he saved [Raif] was closest to the shore, [Hassan says] he grabbed his [Raif’s] hand and pulled him, that at the same instance massive waves started crashing over my head. After those waves I could not find the other two" Zuleykha translated.
By the time he carried Raif to the shore, a number of people had gathered there.
Many had gathered by the shore when Hassan had reached with Raif, who was unconscious. Raif was unconscious at the time. He was immediately taken to Hithadhoo Regional Hospital in an ambulance.
Since then, officers of the Maldives National Defense Force have been tirelessly searching for the other two, via air and sea. Families of Mayameen and Fahmy have expressed their hope that their children will be found alive given that they are good swimmers.Raif, Fahmy and Mayameen are students in Hithadhoo School.
Hassan’s heroic efforts are being deeply applauded by the public. His bravery, despite a condition that some people might perceive to be a disadvantage. Addu City Council even conferred him an award of recognition, and former President Mohamed Nasheed applauded him via social media as well.
He was the hero of the day.
As I started to leave after having heard Hassan's story, Zuleykha said to me me, ‘Hassan is a skilled fisherman’. And in that moment, I realized that although Hassaan is deprived of hearing and speech, he is no ordinary man!