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Confusion over cause of Filipino's death.

Summary: Friends say the man was on a longboard and not a hoverboard

Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Confusion has arisen as to the cause of a Filipino's death who hit his head on a lamp post while on a board with wheels.

According to some local media reports on Wednesday, the first fatality on a hoverboard in Dubai was of a Filipino who ran into a lamp post at a car park at Mushrif Park and subsequently died due to the severe injuries he sustained. {A hoverboard is a battery-powered self-balancing board that does not actually hover].

Colonel Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, Director of Dubai Civil Defence, on Thursday confirmed the incident but clarified that the incident happened on December 20, 2015.

"We received the report of the incident and it was recorded as a traffic incident, and we even have the air wheels in question," he said.

But Filipino expatriate Jonathan, a friend the victim, J.E.M., 26, a graphic designer and musician, clarified that his friend was not using a hoverboard at the time of his death but a longboard.

A longboard is a two-wheeled self-balancing board longer than a skateboard. It is used by enthusiasts who go up a hill and then freeride downhill at top speeds.

Jonathan said J.E.M.'s death came as a shock. "He was a kind man, friendly and cheerful. He was the joker of the group," Jonathan said.

Jonathan stressed that the group is always cautious when riding. "We have rules in the group that you're not allowed to ride without complete safety gears such as a full-face helmet and safety pads for the joints."

Gulf News noted that J.E.M. adhered to the group's rules as his public pictures on Facebook while longboarding showed the same.

Gulf News tried to contact other friends and family of J.E.M., also known as Falcon Rider in his riding community, but no one could comment as they are still grieving.

Meanwhile, Col Al Mazroui said there were two earlier cases of people falling off hoverboards and sustaining serious injuries.

"In one case, the man's hoverboard shut down suddenly and he fell hitting his face on the ground and the other case, the person fractured his shoulder," he said.

Col Al Mazroui added that the hoverboards could be dangerous if not used with care and in designated areas. This is the reason, he added, why the Federal Traffic Council warned against using them on public roads. Hoverboards are also not allowed to be used in malls in Dubai and undesignated areas in parks.

In October last year, a six-year-old Emirati boy was run over by a car in Abu Dhabi while using a hoverboard.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Jan 14, 2016
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