Sean Meli’s brave rescue of a young Chinese boy in Sliema has been hailed by the nation, even placing the former water-polo player well in the running for a Ġieħ ir-Repubblika award.
However, there was another hero on the night whose efforts have yet to be recognised, and his name is Majed Shahin.
Majed told Lovin Malta that he had just finished dinner at The Compass Lounge on Wednesday night when a young girl ran up to him with tears in her eyes, asking him to help her friend who was drowning at sea.
“I saw the boy struggling in the water, I was shocked, and I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I asked people to call the police while I ran down to see if I could find a rope or anything to help him, but it was dark and I couldn’t see much.”
With the boy’s hair covering his face, Majed thought he was upside down and decided to take drastic action, jumping in the sea and swimming to his aid.
“I told him to stay still and tried to swim back to shore with him,” he said.
However, the waters were rough and Majed, who had just eaten dinner, felt he was about to throw up.
“I felt I was going to vomit while water was entering my mouth so there was stuff going in and coming out of my stomach,” he recounted. “I never experienced anything like this in my life and I was staring at death.”
As he swallowed seawater, Majed lost the young boy, before eventually being rescued by a coast guard himself and taken to hospital. Thankfully for the boy, Sean Meli was in the vicinity too, with the former water-polo player jumping in the sea to save him after noticing that a rescue boat couldn’t find him.
“I don’t want to be honoured or anything,” Majed said. “It was a life-or-death situation and my humanity told me to jump after seeing a little man struggling at sea.”
He also hailed Sean as a hero, actually stating that he knows him personally from his [Majed’s] time working at The Compass Lounge.
However, he was dismayed when he read some comments on news reports that quoted the police as confirming that a 37-year-old Libyan man and a 14-year-old Chinese boy had both been rescued.
“Some of the commenters thought I had thrown him into the sea myself, which is absurd when the truth is that I jumped in to save him and almost lost my life. No one told me thank you, but we’re all human and I would have tried to help anyone who was in that boy’s situation. When people need help, we should help them.”
Cover photo: Left: Sean Meli rescuing the Chinese boy (Photo: TVM), Right: Majed Shahin
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