UAE | Emergencies

Survivors of the deadly accident recall horrific scenes

'The truck rammed right in the centre and we were thrown out of the windows while some crashed on the ground'

  • By Faisal Masudi and Noorhan Barakat, Staff Reporters, and Noor Nazzal, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 23:00 February 4, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • A shocked survivor at NMC Hospital in Al Ain.
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Al Ain: A loud bang, mangled metal, screams of “save me” and piles of sand and construction debris all around — Mohammad Sulaiman is still trying to come to terms with the road accident in Al Ain on Monday.

Sulaiman, from Al Hakim Cleaning Company, was one of the 46 workers headed to work on the doomed bus that was hit by a truck on the Al Ain-Abu Dhabi Truck Road near Al Rawdah palace at 7.45am on Monday.

Twenty-four workers died, while another 24 were admitted to hospitals across the Oasis City.

“Some were stuck inside the bus for two hours, the emergency crew had to struggle with complicated options to get us out,” Sulaiman, 21, told Gulf News lying on a hospital bed at the New Medical Centre Speciality Hospital in Al Ain.

The painter from Bangladeshi was among three injured workers rushed to the hospital after Abu Dhabi police extricated them in a painstaking operation.

A Pakistani worker at the hospital said police arrived at the scene almost immediately, followed by dozens of ambulances. “We were helping each other first, I pulled out two bodies. All my friends are dead,” he said.

Sulaiman is yet to convey the message of his accident back home to his family in Bangladesh. “I don’t want to bother my mother... I will call her when I get out of the hospital in a couple of day’s time,” he said.

Impact

Sulaiman was sitting in the rear of the bus when the accident took place. According to him, most co-workers sitting at the front of the bus died.

“I don’t remember in details what happened... But I do remember the impact of the bus being hit by the truck. It hit right in the centre of the bus and all of a sudden there were loud noises all around. All I did at that point was to remember Allah and ask for his mercy,” he said.

A Pakistani survivor in his early twenties, lying on the bed with his leg wrapped in a bandage, said: “My friends are dead. Half of my family is here in Al Ain and we are just mourning the dead.”

According to him, the truck was trying to overtake the bus, which was about to turn. “The truck rammed right in the centre and we were thrown out of the windows while some crashed on the ground. Everyone seated behind me died. There were screams of ‘save me’ for two hours as many workers were stuck. Even the rescuers seemed to be a bit shocked at the scene in front of them,” he said.

At Al Ain Hospital, the injured started being wheeled in from 9am, while the dead were being transferred to the morgue by 10.30am.

Six of the injured admitted to the hospital were described as in a stable condition.
A worker waiting outside the morgue at Al Ain Hospital told Gulf News his cousin died in the accident. “He was a 21-year-old painter from Bangladesh. They are identifying his body... It’s all God’s will,” he said tearfully.

Azam, another Bangladeshi worker, was a little more fortunate — one of his cousins survived the accident with moderate injuries and was taken to Al Tawam Hospital. But he had no idea about another cousin who was also on the bus, and was desperately seeking information about which hospital to go to for more details.

A man who was said to be a public relation officer (PRO) of Al Hakeem Cleaning Company was seen compiling a list of the deceased from the morgue office at Al Ain Hospital, but declined to comment.

Police appeal

Police are calling on contracting companies and transportation agencies to ensure the strictest enforcement of safety rules while transporting workers, and regularly inspect vehicle safety standards.

Noor Nazzal is an intern at Gulf News

Comments (31)

  1. Added 17:28 February 5, 2013

    DEAR ALL KINDLY PRAY FOR ALL OF THEM THOSE WHO DEAD IN ALAIN ACCIDENT TO GET GREAT PLACE IN JANNAH AMEEN

    ahmed muneer uddin, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:17 February 5, 2013

    my deepest condolence

    edison, abu dhabi, India

  3. Added 17:14 February 5, 2013

    It was unbelievable incident. Rest in peace for the departed souls. May the victims recover soon. God Bless!!

    Hugo Perera, Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka

  4. Added 16:41 February 5, 2013

    Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon, first , do not allow any old model truck to UAE, allow only new model and keep limit of kilometer to driver in the road, after that just put in scrap like some European country rule. Also, This type of heavy vehicle should be validity of Mulkiya not more than 3 months, every 3 months traffic department to check vehicle conditions, this is my oponion to UAE traffic department to avoid this type of accident, please consider.

    samadpka, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 15:50 February 5, 2013

    May Allah give them peace in Jannah. إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

    Mohammad Muddassar, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 15:21 February 5, 2013

    Since i heard the news i could not control myself. It is very unfortunate and I pray the almighty to provide jannah to those who lost their lives and give more strength to the families of the victims. I wish all the injured to get well soon. I request the authorities to enforce a strict law, especially on transport companies who have a huge responsibility and who must observe the laws on road when they are carrying innocent lives. Failing to observe the law, request to punish them severely.

    Jabeen khan, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 15:05 February 5, 2013

    Hey Allah, grant those deceased brothers jannah. We, as Bangladeshis, are shocked. We have know no word to express the sorrow. Allah, bless on the survivors. ameen. Mohammad Abul Hosein Asstt Editor The daily Manabzamin 40, Kawranbazar Dhaka Bangladesh

    Mohammad Abul Hosein, Dhaka, Bangladesh

  8. Added 14:57 February 5, 2013

    We pray for the victims and the survivors.

    Adnan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 14:54 February 5, 2013

    إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ May Allah SWT forgive us all and grant patience to the families of the deceased. This is a very sad news. Anyone found guilty should be dealt with severely. May Allah give them place in Jannah Ameen

    Munawar Hussain, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 14:43 February 5, 2013

    Speed governors MUST be fitted on all mass transport and heavy vehicles. I have seen many, many times minibuses/vans rushing at 140 in emirates road.

    Abdul Awal, Abu Dhabi, Bangladesh

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