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Seventeen people died and nine others were injured in a horrific road accident on Mohammad Bin Zayed Road in June 2019, involving a tour bus travelling from Muscat to Dubai. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: A committee of experts were ordered by Dubai Court of Appeal on Thursday to examine the site of a bus crash in Dubai that killed 17 people on June 6. Defence lawyers had earlier asked the court to assign experts to examine the site where a Muscat to Dubai Mwasalat bus service struck an overhead height restriction barrier. The lawyers said there were several errors that led to the incident that weren’t the Omani’s driver’s fault.

Experts will now visit the crash site to determine if the road was built according to international standards and to decide if any errors may have occurred in its design and construction, particularly when it comes to the distance between and positioning of warning signs and the height barrier, and their visibility and clarity in sunlight.

The Omani driver had his sunshade down when he struck the 2.2-metre high barrier at 94-km/h killing 17 passengers at the turn off from Mohammad Bin Zayed Road onto Rashidiya Road. The driver wrongly turned left towards the Rashidiya Metro Station in a lane not designated for buses when he should have stayed right.

The driver’s lawyer Mohammad Al Saberi told Gulf News that court agreed on his demands to appoint an expert to examine the crash site, which had earlier been dismissed by the Dubai Traffic Court.

“The court ordered to appoint experts to go to the crash site and check the warning signs and the distance between the heigh barrier and the signs,” he said.

The defense lawyers earlier contacted an independent expert to analyse the scene and provide all documents and pictures related to the crash site to a professional engineering consultant and head of a road and safety facility in Australia to examine the incident and provide a report.

“The report stated that there were several obvious errors that led to the crash, and they were not the responsibility of the driver,” said Al Saberi. “The expert’s report stated that the distance between the warning signboard and the height barrier was only 12-metres and it should be a minimum of 48-metres,” Al Saberi had earlier told judges.

He said that the errors had made it very hard for the 53-year-old driver to see the warning boards clearly as the sun was shining in his eyes.

The driver, who was charged with causing the wrongful death of 17 passengers and injuring 13 others, was sentenced to seven years in jail and was ordered to pay Dh3.4 million in blood money to the families of the victims by Dubai Traffic Court in July.