People gathering at the accident site on the road between Ibri and Fahud in western Oman Image Credit: AFP

Muscat: On Tuesday Ahmad Al Moqbali gave up his front seat on a commuter bus to an elderly passenger. That decision may have been the reason he is still alive.

The 24-year-old Omani national was on a commuter bus that smashed into a truck at 1am Tuesday on the road connecting Fahud and Ibri, the horrific accident claimed 18 lives.

A nearby truck lost control after a tyre burst and skidded across the road ramming into the bus, investigations revealed.

Ahmed Al Muqbali

The bus owned by the Gulf Transport Company was carrying 45 passengers.

“I was traveling from Salalah to Ibri to spend the holiday with my family,” he told Gulf News in an interview at Ibri hospital where he is being treated for his injuries.

“Around 12:30 am I woke up, most people were still asleep.”

Then all of a sudden, he heard some passengers scream out, “It’s coming, it’s coming! The truck will hit us!”

“I still remember that some of the bodies strewn inside and outside the bus, blood covered the seats and debris before I fell unconscious”, Al Moqbali recalled.

“Bodies of children, women and men were covered in blood. It was traumatising,” he said.

The strong impact, threw some passengers sitting in the front of the bus to the back where Al Moqbali was sitting.

He said he was unable to help them because he was severely injured and covered in blood. Later the doctors told him he fractured his arm.

“The accident will haunt me for the rest of my life. I do not think I will be able to travel by bus again,” he said.

Al Moqbali’s friend Salim, sitting in the front row of the bus, was killed on impact.

“He was one of my best friends. I was planning to attend his wedding next month,” he said, appearing visibly emotional.

“I pray for all those who died, let their souls rest in peace and for those who got injured to recover quickly.”

Six Omanis, four Saudis, two Pakistanis and one Yemen were killed in the tragic accident.

Five others still remain unidentified.

Among the injured, 11 were from Oman, two were Saudis, one was Pakistani, one was Chinese and one remained unidentified, the police said.

Meanwhile, Saleh Musin, the head of the Economic Committee at Oman’s advisory Council, said that he along with other members, will use all the parliamentary tools to grill the Minister of Transport and Communications following the accident, which is considered as one of the worst road accidents in Oman’s history.