UAE | General

Young man killed in fiery Ferrari crash in Dubai

Full throttle that so often thrilled Ghazi also killed him, serving a stark reminder about the horrors of speeding

  • By Abhishek Sengupta, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 July 17, 2013
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit: Supplied photo
  • Fatal attraction: An undated picture of Ghazi posing with the Ferrari that crashed into a tree and eventually led to his death sUPPLIED PHOTO
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Dubai: He loved life in the fast lane. And in the end it cost him his life.

The full throttle of the bright canary yellow Ferrari that had thrilled Mohammad Ghazi Vahedna on many adrenaline-soaked drives in the past, was the cause of his death.

The 20-year-old, who had come from the UK to spend Ramadan with his family, died in front of his brother in a horrific car crash when the Ferrari hit a palm tree in Motor City on July 13.

“My mother is in shock and none of us can believe he’s gone,” Hashim Vahedna, 16, told XPRESS a day after he lost his elder sibling.

The two were on their way home from a late night karting session at the Dubai Autodrome last Saturday when Ghazi’s car spiralled out of control and overturned.

Hashim was riding ahead of Ghazi in another car driven by a friend. They were heading to Motor City to pick up dinner.

“I was in another car with my driving instructor Ramez Azzam — who was also Ghazi’s university friend — with Ghazi just behind us. Suddenly we saw him overtake us and hit the kerb of a sharp bend. The impact was such that the car flipped a couple of times before coming to a rest a fair distance away. It all happened in a flash in front of our eyes,” recalled Hashim, who is also a race enthusiast.

“We rushed to the car which was now on fire. I could only see his leg dangling out because the smoke and fire were so intense. People at a local shisha bar rushed out to help and tried to douse the blaze with fire extinguishers. The fire did die for a moment, before everything went up in flames. However, we had enough time to pull him out of the car,” said Hashim who studies in grade 11 at St. Mary’s in Dubai.

“The police and ambulance arrived within minutes. However, before they arrived, I made him lie on the ground in an attempt to get a response out of him, but he had already gone cold. He was bleeding from his ears and head. The paramedics tried to revive him in the ambulance, but to no avail,” recounts his friend Ramez Azzam, 22, who was driving in his brand new BMW with Hashim.

“I have been professionally racing since I was 15, but I have never seen something like this. The way the car caught fire was unbelievable. The heat was so intense we felt it even inside my car, parked 100 metres from the spot,” said Azzam who first met Ghazi at the Middlesex University in Dubai three years ago and was due to share a flat with him in London where Ghazi was studying after his foundation year.

Not the first time

“He wasn’t driving his dad’s Ferrari for the first time. He had taken it out many times and he is a fairly good driver with great control. I have seen him karting so many times. He loved racing, he loved speed, but perhaps the only time he lost control, it proved fatal,” added the Canadian of Palestinian origin.

According to the family, Ghazi was declared dead on arrival at the Rashid Hospital in Dubai.

“He died of trauma. He also had head injuries as he hit a tree with his car. He died even before he could be treated,” his father, Faisal Vahedna, told XPRESS hours before readying to fly his son’s body home to Mumbai, India. Faisal heads the multi-million dirham eponymous Vahedna Gulf and Vahedna Middle East.

“I guess it was fate. He wasn’t supposed to be here in Dubai, but we thought it would be nice to have him over for Ramadan. But who knew he was destined to be with us for such a short time,” said the self-made business tycoon.

“About a week before that, we took a trip to Amsterdam — the first family trip in years,” said the distraught father.

Vahedna said he kept getting signals all the time. “Even on the morning he died, I was surprised at the long conversation he had with his grandmother. He usually spoke fleetingly with her, but on that day I had to knock on his door twice to ask for my phone which he was using to make the call.

“He lost his grandfather [my father] on July 17 last year. Just three days under a year separate their deaths and now the two will rest next to each other in Mumbai,” Faisal told XPRESS.

“The evening he died, he led our prayers before iftar and read the duaa, something that he never normally does. I was surprised even more when he took me out for a drive later around the marketplace. Perhaps he had an inkling,” said the 50-year-old.

Ghazi’s friends remember him as a bright, helpful and nice person. His childhood friend, Nabeel Ebrahim, 21, studying at the University of Exeter, said, “It feels unreal. I still think he’ll walk into the house and start getting up to his antics or speed down the road just to announce his presence. He was larger than life. He literally lived like he was in a movie script.”

Fond memories

Shruthi Nair, 19, who attended the same high school as Ghazi and who is now studying in Australia, said: “[He was] such a sweet guy. He would never fail to help a friend. As a matter of fact he’d prioritise his friends over anyone. It’s sad he died the way he did. He will be genuinely missed by the Scholars Batch of 2010, it’ll never be complete without him.”

Wassim Hamadah, head of the Marketing Department, Middlesex University Dubai, said: “The Middlesex community is in complete shock at the news of this terrible tragedy. Vahedna was a good student and had enrolled in the Foundation Programme at our Dubai campus in 2011-12 academic year. In September last year, after successfully completing his studies here, he transferred to our London campus where he had just finished his first year of an honours degree in International Business. Every indication we had pointed to a promising future for Ghazi. This makes this loss of life particularly difficult to understand. Our deepest condolences go out to his parents, relatives and family members. Many members of our Middlesex community who interacted with him mourn his loss and cherish the memories of his time spent at our campus.”

Karan Sethi, 23, another of Ghazi’s friends who now works for his family business in Uganda, could not contain his shock. “He was one of the most generous people I knew. He would drop me in Sharjah even though it was out of the way for him and we hardly knew each other. It was on those drives that we became good friends. He loved his family and treated his friends also like family.

“He was fearless. That was clearly evident through his love for cars. His Ferrari was like his child. Once it almost touched the pavement, and he got really upset. He had this need for speed. It is so sad that he had to die driving what he loved. He was my best friend. He loved everyone. I’m in shock.”

Divya Malhan, a 21-year old PR executive, said, “He was one of the most selfless people I knew. Whenever I needed anything, he was there for me no matter how busy he was. He loved speed and cars and I cannot believe this is how it had to end. He will forever be missed.”

Ghazi’s father is still coming to terms with the tragedy. “He’s gone [to a world] where he’s getting what I couldn’t have given him. In this holy month of Ramadan, he has achieved shahadat (Urdu for martyrdom). Only a Ghazi (warrior) could have done that.”

(With inputs from Jay B. Hilotin, Chief Reporter, and Tanya Kewalramani, Intern)

Young lives lost in recent road accidents

July 6, 2013: A young driver jumps a red light at Al Rashidiya leading to the death of his 23-year-old wife and injury to his 18-month-old daughter 

June 15, 2013: A 31-year-old Lebanese woman dies when her car veers and hits the central barrier on Al Khail Road 

March 26, 2013: Two Arab students die on University Road in Sharjah after the speeding driver loses control

February 20, 2013: A 16-year-old boy driving without a licence dies when he rams his car into a lampost in Al Barsha 

December 14, 2012: An Emirati youth dies when his car swerves off road following a tyre burst and rams into the hill on Shaikh Khalifa Road in Fujairah 

November 23, 2012: An 18-year-old Emirati is killed in Fujairah after losing control of his car
— Compiled by Gulf news Archives

Comments (16)

Your comments
  1. Added 13:14 July 18, 2013

    So sad. Another bright young life lost. Who knows what he could have achieved. Is it not time for a change in attitude towards fast cars. Who will be next? This acceptance of fast and dangerous driving has to stop to allow the youth to reach their full potential. All should start now and condemn the glorification of speed and allowing young inexpereinced drivers to drive such dangerously fast cars. It is not right for so many young people to die.

    Eric, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:09 July 18, 2013

    After a session of go-karting I have always felt I had less control over my car. Either I was going too fast approaching a bend (accelerating harder) or I would brake too late, misjudge my speed. I have come to the assumption atleast for me personally it takes 10 to 15 minutes to re-familiarize with driving a car. It may have been one of the factors that contributed to this unfortunate incident.

    James, Dubai, UAE, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 12:20 July 18, 2013

    The father bought his son a suicidal machine which isn't meant for drivers of his age.. If he knew his son liked speed and he didn't do anything about it, he may be the cause of his untimely departure.

    Alee, Abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 11:42 July 18, 2013

    It is a sad thing to read about people dying in horrific road rage accidents, but is this really what we are supposed to portray to people? Young racer dies, there is a difference between a race track built for high speed endurance and a road built for safe smooth driving. If you are a racing enthusiast stick to the race tracks what are you trying to prove outside? Again i do not mean disrespect to the deceased but something must be said in articles to stop others from getting themselves into the same mistake that we see here? Reckless driving is Dubai's main problem cause people don't care. In fact they are hurting others rather than themselves. Authorities should do something to stop this. Is it good to have such superfast expensive cars in a place with high road accident death percentage? It gives an opportunity for speed enthusiasts to take to the road and ahow off, but when a mother and a baby are involved in the death then what? Life cannot be brought back! I really hope the government does find a solution to this problem. Again no disrespect to the deceased and his soul rest in peace, but parents think of the next time you give a fast car to a 'young racer or 'speed enthusiast' who does not understand the difference between a race track from a normal road.

    Vas, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 11:27 July 18, 2013

    Total mistake of parents. UAE roads are not designed for racing, if they knew he wasn't a professional racer then why give him a Ferrari? I really don't understand why people show off only to regret forever.

    Arif, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 09:51 July 18, 2013

    May his soul rest in peace, but Motor City is a residential community. Thank God there weren't any other victims, drivers should be more responsible and the area where the accident happened needs speed bumps.

    Motor City resident, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 09:21 July 18, 2013

    i appeal the parents not to give the keys of such cars to their kids and prevent them from driving such vehicles till they get 3 to 4 years' experience.

    arshad, kohat, Pakistan

  8. Added 09:04 July 18, 2013

    My heartfelt condolence to the family, I was deeply moved by reading Ghazi's father account of the day he spend with his son.I hope the Almighty gives them strength to get over this disaster. He was way too young to die in this horrible way.Overspeeding has taken too many young lives, I understand the youngsters need for speed, but everyone should remember while you are speeding not everything is in your hands, it takes only a second for the car to spiral out of control. Please let this tragedy be a reminder to all to be responsible drivers.May His soul rest in peace.

    Neethu, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 07:54 July 18, 2013

    So sad to see people wasting lives for street racing. Sorry for the family. But police should investigate further. It looks more like street racing between these two.

    Raj, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 01:51 July 18, 2013

    Rest in peace, brother.

    Vijin, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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