Prince Albert’s Syrian community came together to support a nervous refugee couple, who waited in hospital after their six-year-old daughter was hit by a truck.
Rimas al-Othman was crossing the street at about 2:35 p.m. Tuesday, after leaving daycare at Wesley United Church. At that moment, she was struck by a vehicle and, according to her father, thrown several metres through the air.
“When I saw that accident, I thought my daughter had died,” said Fadel al-Othman, a refugee from Idlib province in Syria.
Together with his wife and two other children, Al-Othman ran toward his daughter. He said they were all afraid, and that he was worried his wife’s “heart would stop.”
When he approached his daughter, he saw that she was shaken but still conscious. He said he noticed that the woman behind the wheel of the truck was also frightened, so he tried to reassure her.
“I said to her ‘don’t worry, she is OK; relax, please relax,’” he recounted.
Police reported the accident shortly after it occurred, but did not release the name of the victim. They said the incident is not considered criminal in nature, and they did not press any charges.
Al-Othman accompanied his daughter as paramedics rushed her to the Victoria Hospital. She had scratches along her arm and back, he said, but no broken bones. According to Al-Othman, the doctors were concerned that she might have sustained internal injuries, and arranged to have her sent to Saskatoon.
In the meantime, dozens of friends had arrived at the hospital to support Al-Othman and his wife.
“All Syrian people went there, to the hospital, men and women,” he said. “The hospital was so busy.”
Al-Othman said that at least 30 well-wishers, and perhaps 40 or more, passed through his daughter’s hospital room that day. Many were Syrian, but he saw White Canadians and African Canadians as well.
Another ambulance took Rimas to a hospital in Saskatoon. Al-Othman said the doctors were ready for her. She went through numerous scans and X-rays before getting a clean bill of health, he said. By 4:30 the next morning, they were safely back at their home in Prince Albert.
For more on this story, see the September 5 edition of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.