Dubai: When four friends went to the desert to bid farewell to each other, little did they know that they will be saying goodbye to the world forever.
An accident involving three cars on Academic City Road at 11.30pm on Monday caused the death of four students and left five others injured, including the driver who caused the crash.
Eight friends had parked two cars on the hard shoulder and were talking. The Emirati driver, who police said was at fault, was speeding and driving recklessly. He lost control, swerved to the right and crashed into one of the cars, which hit the eight friends standing on the side of the road and the third car.
Police said the four injured youth and the driver were rushed to hospital.
Among the deceased was Lebanese national Mohammad Al Ameen,19, who went to the American University of Sharjah, as well as three best friends who graduated from Al Dawha School in Sharjah; American Yazan Nasser, 17, Palestinian Izzeddin Al Battrwai, 16, Jordanian Abdullah Salah, 18.
The four injured were an American, 19, Egyptian, 17, Canadian, 17 and Russian, 20. They sustained between moderate and severe injuries.
Mohannad Abu Al Huda, vice-principal, said the three deceased students who graduated from Al Dawha School were inseparable friends. He said the family of the deceased said the students gathered in the desert to bid farewell before each went to a different university.
“The school was shaken by the news, especially because Yazan, Izzeddin and Abdullah were best friends. They were good students who left a good mark on the school. The saddest part is not one of them is left to remind us of their fond memories.”
Abu Al Huda, who attended the funeral prayers said the students’ parents told him that they wanted to meet for one final time before they each went to a different university.
He said Yazan was accepted to the University of Sharjah, while Izzeddin was accepted to a university in Germany. Abdullah was going to another university.
The vice-principal confirmed that two of the injured also went to the Al Dawha School. He visited the injured students in hospital.
“Yazan’s brother Mohammad Nasser, who is in Al Rashid Hospital, sustained serious injuries in his thigh and chest, while another student, Yousuf who is a Russian, has moderate injuries. He is extremely depressed and is not talking to anyone,” Abu Al Huda said.
He is planning to visit Yousuf along with some teachers to console him.
Abu Al Huda said Abdullah’s family did not know that their son had been killed until Tuesday afternoon. “His brother who attends the same school came to class as if nothing had happened. He learnt that his brother was dead only at school.”
The funeral prayers of Yazan and Abdullah took place on Wednesday at Al Sahabah mosque in Sharjah, while the prayers for Izzeddin took place in Al Quoz.
Two of the injured students were able to attend the funerals of their friends on Wednesday.
Gulf News tried to contact Mohammad Al Ameen’s sister, but she could not be reached.
“As a school, the message that we would like to get out to young people who are getting their licence at such a young age is to drive safely. Not just for the sake of their lives, but for the sake of other people’s lives,” Abu Al Huda said.
The case has been transferred to Dubai Transport Prosecution.
Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Dubai Police Chief, had earlier said that according to the survivors, the group were standing by the side of the road after one of their vehicles was stuck in the sand.
Major General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said: “The Emirati young man had recently received his driving licence, and the reasons behind the crash were that he was driving recklessly and speeding.”
Colonel Jamal Al Bannai, Acting Director of Dubai Traffic Police, said the majority of road accidents involve motorists who have recently got their licences. “Parents should pay attention to their children when they first receive their licence. It is advisable that the parents not let their children drive alone for long distances or at night, until they are sure that they are in control of the vehicle,” he said.
Col Al Bannai said Dubai Police have carried out a number of awareness campaigns about road safety, however, parents play a big role in advising their children to drive safely.