A beach in Dubai (illustration purposes only) Getty Images

A story which circulated global media about a Dubai father who refused to let his drowning daughter be saved by lifeguards as he believed she would be dishonoured if they touched her is based on an account two decades old, it has emerged.

Breaking on a slow news day, the story was picked up across UK and international media, including MailOnline, the Telegraph and yes, even IBTimes UK, after first being reported by AFP.

However it has emerged that the story is, well, far from news.

The story first appeared on news website Emirates 24 about the strangest episodes lifeguards had witnessed in their careers.

A source told the Guardian: "They mentioned this case of the Asian man who prevented his daughter's rescue, but, and here's the catch – it was from 1996," the source said.

In the Emirates 24 article, Colonel Ahmed Burqibah tells of how a father took his wife and children to a beach in Dubai for a picnic.

He said that one of the man's daughters got into trouble at sea, but when two lifeguards went to help her, the father "started pulling and preventing the rescue men and got violent with them".

"He told them that he'd prefer his daughter being dead than being touched by a strange man, [believing that] if these men touched his daughter, then this would dishonour her", Burqibah told the website.

"She died unfortunately, at a time when she had a chance to live, especially when the rescue men were so close to her to pull her out of the water," he said.

Police later arrested the man for preventing life guards from rescuing his daughter.