One of the UAE's leading freediving experts, Zarir Saifuddin, narrowly escaped death during his recent freediving and spearfishing expedition. He nearly drowned during a highly perilous dive, but the swift action of a member of the Dubai royal family saved his life. Freediving involves divers plunging deep into the ocean without scuba gear, holding their breath for extended periods, a technique historically used in pearl diving.

Eyewitnesses recount that Zarir lost consciousness and nearly drowned while diving with friends several kilometers from the shore. In urgent need of help, his friends rushed him to the nearest land, Moon Island, located 70 km from the Dubai coast. They reported him to be semi-conscious, with his lungs filling with water.

Fortuitously, a member of Dubai’s royal family was nearby and dispatched his personal doctor and medical team to aid in the rescue. The security team on Moon Island contacted the royal family member, who provided emergency assistance until the Dubai Police medical team arrived via helicopter.

Those present at the scene attribute Zarir's survival to the rapid arrival of the royal medical team. A video shared with Khaleej Times depicted the freediver being immediately airlifted by a Dubai Police helicopter from Moon Island.

Khaleej Times contacted Zarir, who confirmed the incident but chose not to comment further, expressing gratitude to the royal family, Dubai Police, Moon Island security personnel, his friends, and the staff at Rashid Hospital for their prompt and effective response. He marveled at the Dubai Police's response time, stating it was incredible to reach someone so far offshore in mere minutes.

A team member who treated Zarir noted his incredible fortune to be alive, given the significant water in his lungs affecting his breathing. Almir Smajlovic, a Specialist of Respiratory Care at Rashid Hospital, explained that Zarir received medical care and slept for over 48 hours. Considering the depths he dove, his survival was remarkably lucky.

Almir, also a freediver, confirmed Zarir's expertise and mentioned that Zarir had trained him. He explained that while recreational spearfishing at depths up to 20 meters is relatively safe, diving deeper than 40 meters in one breath is a feat few worldwide can achieve. In Dubai, Zarir is among the elite few.

Almir described the incident, occurring when Zarir held his breath for three minutes at 32 meters, shooting and retrieving two fish from an underwater cave. Despite being discharged from the hospital, Zarir continued to experience sharp chest pain for several weeks post-incident. Almir explained that the fluid in his lungs would take many days to clear, and damaged air sacs would require time to heal, making breathing pain-free a gradual process.