THE father of a man who died after being struck by a speedboat off a paradise island spoke last night of his family's grief.
Brian James Collins died after a swimming accident off Kish Island in the Persian Gulf near Dubai.
The 44-year-old Lisburn man, right, was working as a drilling coordinator on an oil rig in the gulf at the time of his death.
He had been living on the Iranian island, 10 miles from the southern mainland Iran, for the past two years.
The married father-of-two worked for five-week periods on the island - known as the pearl of the Persian Gulf - before jetting home for five weeks with his family.
Mr Collins, who previously worked in Canada and Scotland, had chosen to fly back early to Kish after spending Christmas with his wife and two sons, aged eight and four, in Lisburn.
Last night his father, Jim, who owns the family-run Niagara chain of restaurants. the oldest established traditional fish and chip shops in Lisburn, said his family was devastated by the New Year's Eve accident.
"Brian was very fond of the water. Kish is very popular island as it offers a lot of sporting activities," he said.
"Brian had played rugby and rowed at school and had recently taken a scuba diving course. He was a very strong swimmer and swam in the sea every day out to a buoy and back.
"He was with another man swimming in choppy waters. The man noticed a boat heading towards them as they swam and he shouted at Brian to look out.
"The other man managed to dive out of the way but the boat struck Brian on the head and the hand. It was being driven by two youngsters."
Mr Collins said his son was rushed back to shore but died a short time later. "I could not describe how I felt at first. We were told on New Year's Eve when a lot of the family were at the house," he said.
"His wife was told first and was asked if she wanted to press charges against the youngsters and if she wanted a postmortem carried out.
"She said no because we want to fly his body home as soon as possible. We are hoping that he may be home by Sunday or Monday."
Mr Collins said the funeral service would take place at Railway Street Presbyterian Church in Lisburn. Railway Street minister the Rev Brian Gibson said the family were stunned by the tragedy.