Minibus crash in Dibba raises safety questions

Minibuses become unstable when carrying more than 10 passengers at high speeds

  • Five people died when this minibus careened out of control following a burst tyre and landed in this ditch in Image Credit: Courtesy: Fujairah Police
  • Image Credit: ©Gulf News
18 Gulf News

Fujairah: Police have called for a nationwide study into the use of minibuses on the highway after five people died in a crash on Thursday.

They say the vehicles are unsafe and unstable when carrying more than 10 passengers at speeds of more than 100 km/h.

The remarks come in the wake of a crash in which five people were killed and six injured on Thursday morning, Fujairah Police said.

"Two of the injured men were in serious condition," a spokesman for the police told Gulf News.

A number of fatal accidents involving minibuses have occured in other emirates in the past two years, raising questions about the safety of the vehicles.

The accident occurred when a tyre burst and the minibus veered off the road and plunged into a ditch, Lieutenant Colonel Saeed Al Yamahi, director of the media department at Fujairah Police, told Gulf News.

‘Lost control'

The tragic incident happened around 6.40am in the Al Tawian area close to Dibba, along the road towards Ras Al Khaimah. "The vehicle was transporting the men from their accommodation in Dibba to their work place," Al Yamahi said. "The back tyre burst due to which the driver lost control and the vehicle hit the barrier before rolling over into a ditch, 15 metres from the road," he said.

The vehicle belongs to Sunline General Contracting, workers confirmed from Dibba Hospital, adding that they were to work on a villa project in Al Tawian. "Five of the victims were already dead when they were brought to the hospital. Of the six people injured, two were in critical condition initially. By evening, one patient's condition became stable but the other continues to be under high risk," Abdullah Salem, Director of Dibba Hospital, said.

"One of the victims is an Indian man from Punjab and the other four are from Bangladesh," according to a supervisor at Sunline. All five victims, aged between 26 and 45, died on the spot. The driver's condition is now stable.

The Indian victim, Lal Chand, from Jalandhar, is survived by his wife and three children back home, according to Manohar, who is from the same village as Chand and lives in the same labour accommodation.

"We haven't informed the family yet. It's hard… I don't know what to say."

"He is the sole breadwinner of his family… don't know how they will survive now." Manohar last spoke to Chand on Wednesday night before they both went to sleep. They mostly spoke about work, he said.

Food carried by the workers was seen scattered at the accident site, along with blood-drenched shoes.

Police have begun an investigation.

Similar incidents

A number of fatal accidents involving minibuses have occurred in the country in the past few years raising questions about their safety.


  • Mujtaba

    17-Feb-2012 16:48

    We really need to go very far when we find these mini vans driving at the speed unmatched with the vehicle capabilities, the most horrifying is the worker inside doesnt know or have any say to ask there driver to drive slowly. Why they have been authorize to drive at the same limit of normal cars. They must follow the limit of the bus and heavy vehicles.

  • Sultan

    17-Feb-2012 16:04

    Yes we have to Act now: many accidents happening with minibuses and Small pick ups. we must control the vehicle through RDPS (Rash Drive Prevention System) it can control the Vehicle Speed According to the Weight, Climate and Time based. the authorities must go through this devise i hope so. then we can prevent Accidents more than 85%.

  • Romin

    17-Feb-2012 15:59

    I've driven a Nissan Uravan and a Toyota Hiace, brand new which we purchased for our company. They are ridiculously fast because they have a sedan engine, they are capable of doing 200KPH+ and without any form of electronic aids, such as ABS/ESP/TC, I don't blame them because they are made for work, but they MUST be electronically speed limited. One of the main dangerous factors in them is they have a leaf springs which is very unforgiving, and their high center of gravity is very dangerous too, my advice is electronically limit their speed.

  • Mathew Litty

    17-Feb-2012 15:48

    I am sick to my stomach of reading such incidents again and again. This is the height of it now and if nothing is done then we are going to only see more lives being lost. Many a times i have observed truck drivers, vans and mini buses driving on the fast lane causing a whole lot of confusion for the other drivers. There should be a rule set up that heavy vehicles should not be allowed to enter the fast lane. Moreover, they even drive slow on the fast lanes. The authoritys have to be an eye on such vehicles, the number of passengers they carry, whether the tyres are in good condition or not. If you see during peak hours, the roads are filled with heavy vehicles and i feel there should be timings given to them. Please stick to one track.

  • Anna

    17-Feb-2012 15:15

    How many more must die, get injured for life before something is done to prevent this? First of all, automatic speed limit to 100 km, safety belts for everyone in the minibus, educate the drivers. Also big fines for the company that do sent follow these rules. Something has to be done NOW !!!

  • Abdul salam Kaniyampadi

    17-Feb-2012 14:53

    In my opinion fourteen seat buses are to be banned on highways. It got single rear wheel to carry the load of the vehicle with passengers. The speed depends on the drivers attitude and work pressure which can not be controlled in all the cases. why we opt fourteen seat buses while we have six wheel twenty four seat bus which is much safer. The contact area of the tyre with the road is the villain. Once the vehicle is in high speed this single tyre is burst as it can't bear the load and the heat due to the long time rubbing of the tyre with the road. If the authority can insist to use only new and branded tyres on each renewal of the van, I think it will help to solve the problem. Finally it is nothing but tyre failure

  • Pradeep

    17-Feb-2012 12:49

    I agree with Jiju Tom. How many accidents have these mini bus drivers caused? There should be strict action on them and they should not use the fast lane. There should be a lane, probably like the second last lane so as to control them. The same way like how Taxis are given lanes in some areas. Same applied to big bus as well. I travel daily on Shaikh Zayed Road and am seeing many times big busses driving on second and third lane even. Then how would anyone avoid accidents if this is the case?

  • Austin

    17-Feb-2012 12:19

    We are hearing about the study about Speed governors every time there are such accidents, but i am not sure what is stopping them from implementing the same? i personally have experienced the reckless driving of mini vans with many people inside it. Also authorities can think of stopping companies using such vechiles for transportation because mostly i have noticed this was used for labour transport and when they are late to reach in office or sites they used to drive super fast.

  • Khalid Shaikh

    17-Feb-2012 12:05

    apart from the speed governors it will also be a good idea to introduce protective Steel pipe cage to prevent the car roof & doors from collapsing.As it is the body of these cheap minivans are like soft drink cans, you can crumple it by hand.

  • syed

    17-Feb-2012 11:59

    i am really very upset with these kind of drivers ..i had similar incident where one van driver had changed the line without indicator and i had accident with him later when we reached police station i came to know he was going to Abu Dhabi ...i told him there will be 2 3 signals only why you are putting everybody life in danger ...real problem is they drive so carelessly.

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Latest Comment

We really need to go very far when we find these mini vans driving at the speed unmatched with the vehicle capabilities, the most horrifying is the worker inside doesnt know or have any say to ask there driver to drive slowly. Why they have been authorize to drive at the same limit of normal cars. They must follow the limit of the bus and heavy vehicles.


17 February 2012 17:21 jump to comments