Manama: A four-year-old Indian student has died in Qatar after she was left alone in a locked bus for over four hours.
The girl has apparently died of heat and asphyxiation in a bus parked by its driver after taking children to their school, but without ensuring that they all got off when they reached their destination.
The victim was identified as Sarah Gazdhar, a KG-1 student of DPS-MIS (Delhi Public School - Modern Indian School) located in the Rawda area in Doha.
She had joined the school last month, Qatari daily Gulf Times reported on Tuesday. The family, hailing from Jodhpur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, lives in Wakrah.
According to a school official, the child on Monday had boarded the bus belonging to a transport company from her house in Wakrah.
The official said that a teacher, who travels on the same bus and who used to help Sarah, was absent on the tragic day.
After dropping the children, the driver took the bus back to Wakrah, without realising that the young girl did not get off at the school.
Usually, Sarah returned home in a different bus that took nursery and kindergarten children back from the school at around noon.
When the mother went to pick Sarah from the bus at a station near their home, she realized that the child was not on board. She promptly called the school, but was told that Sarah had not been to class.
When the mother insisted that her child had boarded the bus in the morning, staff from the school, accompanied by the police, started looking for the driver, who had parked the 15-seater bus in Wakrah before going to his accommodation.
The girl was eventually found in the bus and was rushed to the hospital where she was declared “dead”, sources told the newspaper. The minibus driver was reportedly arrested.
The child’s father, Mohamed Talha Gazdhar, works for a private company and one of Sarah's brothers goes to the same school.
The tragedy is believed to be the first of its kind in a school in Qatar. The school closed on Tuesday in a gesture of compassion with the Sarah's family.