It was a sad afternoon for residents of Al Ain who came in large numbers to the Al Hazza mosque where they offered prayers for the departed souls. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Al Ain: Family members of the Oman road crash victims yesterday bid farewell to the father and his six children who died in the tragedy.

The family showed great fortitude and dignity as they performed the last rites of their dear ones while accepting condolences from thousands of residents.

The victims include retired army general Saif Abdullah Al Kaabi, 57, his two sons, Ahmad Al Kaabi, 8, Mohammad Al Kaabi, 25, and four daughters Afra, 27, Hamda, 24, and Fatima, 18, and Sara.

Mohammad Al Kaabi was a promising pilot with Etihad Airways and due to get married soon. His sister Hamda was also due to marry.

“We believe in Allah and his justice and we accept whatever comes from Him, whether it is good or bad. It is a trial from him and we pray to Allah to give the dead peace and give us patience,” said Salim Al Aduwi, son-in-law of Saif Abdullah Al Kaabi, holding back his tears.

“Today I have lost my father who was so kind to all of us and you can get an idea of his popularity by the number of people who are here today for his funeral,” Al Aduwi said.

Saif was a father to four sons and six daughters ­— four of his children survived the tragedy. His wife, who was also in the ill-fated car, is battling for her life at Sultan Qaboos Hopital in Oman.

The funeral procession started around 5pm from Al Hezza mosque with a steady stream of cars reaching the graveyard on the outskirts of the city. The entire town seemed to have come out to pay their last respects to the departed and to show their support for the grieving family.

Among those who survived the accident are two sons of Saif, Humaid, 26, and Abdullah, 17, who were travelling in a separate car, and two of his daughters who were in Al Ain at the time.

The accident happened on Monday afternoon when a trailer rammed into the four-wheel-drive vehicle the family was travelling in as they were heading to Salalah on holiday.

The bodies were flown in from Oman on Tuesday morning by two special UAE Air Force flights arranged by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Kaabi, a nephew of Saif, said: “We got the sad information immediately after it happened through Blackberry Messenger, even before the ambulance reached the spot. It was around 4pm. The news obviously came as a huge shock, it’s a wound that will not be healed so soon. But these are the things you cannot control, whatever Allah wills happens. We all have to depart one day.”

He thanked the government and the people for their support on behalf of the entire Al Kaabi family and acknowledged the personal follow-up done by Shaikh Khalifa and Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

The seven departed souls have left a huge gap in the family and it seems the tragedy has affected several other families as well.

One of the seven deceased, Mohammad Saif Al Kaabi, 25, was a pilot with Etihad Airways.

According to his cousin, Rashid Saeed, Mohammad was a jovial person full of life and was always dreaming of reaching great heights.

“He was full of life and dreams and he was always fun to have around. His energy would rub off on everyone who was with him. I just can’t believe he is no more, I don’t have words to say,” said Saeed — who grew up with Mohammad.

Visibly disturbed, Saeed added that Mohammad was planning to get married soon.

Another victim who was to get married soon was Hamda. The Zayed University graduate’s marriage was already registered and the formal ceremony was scheduled for October this year.

“It is so sad that so many dreams are shattered and some many young lives are cut short in such a tragic way but there are certain things we cannot control,” Al Aduwi said.

Talking about the youngest victim, eight-year-old Ahmad, Al Aduwi said: “My heart goes out for the boy. I cannot get his picture out of my sight. No matter how hard I try, his smiling image keeps coming back to me. He was so intelligent and curious, always with a question.”