Two friends and business partners died after trying to cross stretch of sand to reach small island.

A Birmingham dentist was the sole survivor of a group of three friends whose holiday in Malta ended in tragedy.

Hussain Ahmed told an inquest that the group made the decision to cross a stretch of watery sand towards an island while on a boat trip to the Blue Lagoon, when they suddenly were plunged into deep water.

The group decided to carry on and began swimming, but Ahmed described how, after just a few metres, his travelling partners Mohammed Kamran Shabir and Lyace Ali, both 35, began to struggle.

“We had gone about four or five metres and I had done about six or seven strokes when I looked behind and saw Kamran flailing and with his arms in the air. I went back to support him. He was panicking. I was just managing to keep my head above water.”

Ahmed was eventually rescued from the sea in Comino, but the other two men could not be saved. Ali was brought to shore where there were unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him. Shabir’s body was retrieved from the water. Both men were later pronounced dead at the hospital.

In the inquest, Assistant Birmingham coroner Ana Samuel determined the cause of death for Shabir and Ali was asphyxia and ruled that the men had died as the result of an accident.

The Malta trip was the friends’ first holiday together since setting up their first of five dental practices in 2005. The group met while studying dentistry at the University of Birmingham.

Related links: 

Video: Yacht lost during fatal storm located

RNLI rescue three men from disabled boat off Irish coast