Abu Dhabi: Ajbool Shaikh Hannan was waiting to board the bus that would take him to work on Monday morning when he realised he had forgotten his wallet and identity card in his room.
The 24-year-old air-conditioner mechanic from the eastern Indian state of West Bengal rushed back to his room. By the time he was back, the bus had left the Al Ain workers complex.
Hannan then requested the driver of another bus full of workers leaving for the same worksite for a place on board, and he got one. It was a journey Hannan would never complete — he was one of the 24 people who died when the bus was hit by a truck carrying sand and other construction material on the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Truck Road near Al Rawdah Palace.
“By the time he came back after retrieving his wallet, the company bus had already left,” a colleague of Hannan told Gulf News yesterday. “He requested the driver of the doomed bus to get a ride to the worksite,” he said.
The colleague was not sure whether Shaikh had properly communicated with the driver of the company bus that he would be back from his room in a few minutes. “I have never heard of him being late or forgetting something... It’s fate; he forgot that wallet on this day and was late by just a few minutes,” the colleague said. Hannan was the only Indian involved in the accident.
Twenty three other workers who died in the horrific accident on Monday morning were mostly from Bangladesh. Twenty-four workers were admitted to various hospitals across the city.
Hannan was working as an air-conditioner mechanic with ETA and none of his colleagues from the same company were on the bus.
“Hannan was a hard-working technician and a nice person who worked hard to improve his career prospects,” the colleague said.
Hannan did not have any technical qualifications and started his career as a helper. He learnt technical work and became an experienced technician through sheer hard work, the colleague said. “He was always happy and did not have any complaints,” he said.
Hannan is survived by his wife and two children — a son and a baby daughter.
When the company contacted Hannan’s home, his mother picked up the phone: She and his sister were shocked to hear the tragedy.
Hannan’s father, who works in the east Indian city of Kolkata, was rushing back to their village home after hearing the news, ETA officials said.
An ETA spokesman said the company was coordinating with the local authorities and the Indian Embassy to repatriate Shaikh’s body. He confirmed that no other workers from ETA was involved in the accident.
The Indian Embassy said it would facilitate the repatriation in coordination with the company, and ensure that the victim’s family receives adequate compensation. M.K. Lokesh, Indian Ambassador, told Gulf News: “It is unfortunate that a young man had such a tragic death. We share the grief of the family and his friends.”
Lokesh also confirmed that no other Indian workers were involved in the accident.
Of the total of 24 deaths recorded until yesterday, eight bodies were taken to Al Mafraq hospital in Abu Dhabi, as the mortuary at Al Ain Hospital could not accommodate all the bodies, a forensic doctor told Gulf News.