First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim suffered minor fractures to her backbone during an unexplained explosion on board the presidential speedboat this morning.
“The injuries are not serious and by the grace of God, she does not require any surgery. She will make a full recovery with plenty of bed rest and care,” said Mohamed Hussain Shareef, the presidential affairs minister.
While President Abdulla Yameen escaped unharmed, a presidential aide and a bodyguard also sustained injuries. They both suffered burns, Shareef said.
All three remain at the hospital.
The explosion occurred on “Finifenmaa” launch on which President Yameen was returning to Malé from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) after performing the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. He was scheduled to meet the press at the Izzuddin jetty at 8:00am.
Journalists awaiting the president at the Izzudin jetty heard a loud blast just before the speedboat docked at the pier, followed by glass shattering, and saw the door on the speedboat fall off its hinges.
Footage of the incident from the state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM) shows a man carrying the first lady out on the deck of the boat. A visibly shocked Yameen attempted to attend to his wife, but was quickly hustled to a waiting police vessel.
The police are seeking assistance from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Asutralian federal police and the Saudi Arabian police to investigate the incident.
A forensic team from Saudi Arabia will be arriving in the Maldives soon, the police said in a tweet.
The police refused to comment on the cause of the blast. Shareef, the minister, said: “We do not know if this is an accident. The speedboat is with the army. We do not know if it was mechanical, deliberate or if something was planted. The [MNDF] will not rule anything out.”
The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have called for a speedy and thorough investigation.
Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and MPs have wished the first lady a speedy recovery.
May Allah Always protect HEP Yameen, Madam Fathun & Team. Pray for a quick recovery of Madam Fathun, PO secretariat & Body Guards injured.
— Ahmed Adeeb (@Ahmed_Adeeb) September 28, 2015
Visited President Yameen & his wife at IGMH this morning. President well & unharmed. His wife stable & resting. Wish her a speedy recovery.
— Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) September 28, 2015
Wishing a Speedy Recovery to Mme Fathun, HEP's Body Guard Nasir and President's Secretary Fathmath Mohd Solih.
— Ahmed Nihan (@ahmed_nihan) September 28, 2015
— Abdulla Rifau Bochey (@RifauMP) September 28, 2015
Maldivians on social media have also criticized the MNDF over the incident.
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