Tragic death of Jonada Avdia: Dad wishes 'he'd died' as girl, 7, killed by speedboat driven by cop
Jonada's father Bledar Avdia said the boat driven by off-duty cop Arjan Tase 'came at hellish speed'
A seven-year-old British girl has died after being hit by a speedboat allegedly driven by an off-duty police chief in Albania. Jonada Avdia was fatally wounded while swimming with her father at Potami beach in Himara at around 2 pm on Tuesday, August 2. Police officer Arjan Tase is claimed to have been "dangerously maneuvering" his boat when he lost control of the steering.
Police confirmed Jonada, from Barking in East London, died instantly at the scene, reported Mirror. Jonada was on holiday with her family in her parents' country of birth. Tase, reportedly a police commissioner from the city of Elbasan, was arrested after Tuesday afternoon's horror crash. He was due in court on Friday, August 5, and was charged with manslaughter as angry protests erupted calling for the country's prime minister to resign following a series of accidents in the Albanian coast. Jonada was swimming about 15 feet out when she was struck by the speedboat in front of horrified onlookers.
Jonada's father, Bledar Avdia, who watched his daughter killed by a speedboat propeller brawled with Taser for killing his daughter. Pictures show Tase, wearing pink swimming shorts, locking armed with Bledar, in black, as people rush to separate them. Images of the brawl were posted online by Albania's former prime minister Sali Berisha in the wake of the tragedy.
Recounting the horror day to local media, Bledar said, "I was bathing together with my daughter near the shore, I saw a white boat with two people on board. The boat parked on the beach near a hotel and I saw a girl get off from there. He recalled how a woman and children got into the boat, which then set off again through an area roped off for swimmers, heading towards him and his daughter. It came in our direction and came at hellish speed and separated me and the girl. I dived down under the water and the craft hit my daughter with the engine part, cutting her all over. I saw that the vehicle left, but then the boatman came back, stopping the boat and coming to the shore."
Bislim Ahmetajm, a teacher who was on the beach that day, recalled on Facebook how Bledar came up to him afterwards and said, "I should have died instead of her." An Albanian police watchdog, the Police Oversight Agency, said Tase was driving the boat from Porto Palermo towards Potami with his family members also on board. According to The Sun, it added that the entire chain of command of the Local Directorate for Border and Migration in Vlora which is responsible for preventing accidents in the coastal area, has been fired. Police chief Gledis Nano dismissed a total of 15 people, saying he would “not to tolerate any police officer, leader or enforcer, who does not rigorously and honestly implement functional duties, in the interest of protecting the lives of citizens.”
Hundreds of candles and flowers have been placed where Jonada lost her life, as well as in front of the Prime Minister’s office. Protests have also broken out across the country in fury at the death, with dozens of marchers clashing with police in the capital of Tirana. They are called for the resignation of the interior minister, the head of police, and the tourism minister accusing the state of killing Jonada, local media says. It is the third such accident to happen on the beaches of Albania this summer.
Mirela Kumbaro, the tourism minister, has laid the blame for the crash at the feet of Tase and the national chief of police. She told Albanian Daily News "An angel is no longer among us because of the stupidity of a man who broke every law, every rule, and every norm with tragically irreversible consequences. With awareness that there are no words to serve as a consolation for the parents, the family for the tragedy they suffered, the request goes to justice to do its job, without compromise, with maximum punishment for anyone who breaks the law. The request goes to the state police as well, to each of its employees in the territory, to be at the level of vigilance and punishment that the uniform imposes on them."
The girl's family is said to have been living in the UK for the past two decades and Jonada was born in London.