Probe under way, toll hits17

MUSCAT, JUNE 7 – The toll in the horrific bus accident in Al Rashidiya in Dubai on Thursday evening rose to 17, reports said on Friday. The accident took place when Oman’s state-owned Mwsalat bus carrying 31 passengers from Muscat to Dubai crashed into a road sign on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road on Thursday evening. Dubai police said that an investigation into the incident was under way. Passengers included a mix of residents and holidaymakers of Asian and European origin. Police initially said 15 passengers were killed, but later it said two more passengers, including a woman, died in hospital, putting the revised death toll at 17.

A Dubai newspaper quoted social workers who were helping the families as saying that one Omani citizen, one Pakistani and one Irish national are also among those deceased. However, these details were officially being verified. According to an official from the Pakistani Consulate in Dubai, one of its nationals, Shafeeq, died in the accident. The Indian consulate in Dubai confirmed that 12 of the dead were Indians. “We have confirmed 12 Indian deaths in total. Our teams have been working with the respective Dubai government departments to ensure paperwork is completed as soon as possible”, the consulate was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.

According to a report, there are currently two persons who are still being treated at the hospital, and six people couldn’t be identified due to their severe injuries. Family members of the deceased are identifying remains of bodies in the Dubai Police Forensics Department. “Our teams have been working with the respective Dubai government departments to ensure paperwork is completed as soon as possible,” the Indian consulate said. Repatriation of the bodies is expected to begin on Saturday or Sunday.

The consulate has also mentioned the names of some of the Indian victims. “The names of those who have passed away are: Rajagopalan, Feroz Khan Pathan, Reshma Feroz Khan Pathan, Deepak Kumar, Jamaludeen Arakkaveettil, Kiran Johnny, Vasudev and Tilakram Jawahar Thakur,” it tweeted.
Ummer Chonokadavath and his son Nabil Ummer were also among the deceased, a newspaper reported, citing their relative. Four Indians were discharged after receiving treatment in Rashid Hospital. Mwasalat in a statement said investigation is under way to determine the cause of the accident. Following the accident, the bus company has suspended all operations on Muscat-Dubai route.

Mwasalat said it has paid great attention to the incident immediately on receipt of news and has been in direct contact with the competent authorities at Dubai to look into the incident. The Omani driver of the ill-fated bus sustained moderate injuries and is recovering at Rashid Hospital, Dubai Police expressed its condolences on Twitter, “The General-Directorate of Dubai Police extends its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased who were involved in a bus crash at Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, which killed 17 passengers.”