DUBAI // Six labourers were killed yesterday morning in a collision between a car and an apparently overcrowded minibus near the Dubai-Al Ain road. A young Emirati woman who was riding in the car died later in hospital.
The accident, in which 11 people were also injured, occurred when a 14-seater minibus driven by RA, a 40-year-old Pakistani, turned left to take an exit and collided with a car driven by MK, an Emirati man and brother of the woman who died, said Salah Bu Faroosha, the chief of Dubai Traffic Prosecution. The woman, who was believed to be in her teens, was among a dozen people rushed to Rashid Hospital from the accident scene on Jebel Ali-Lehbab road leading to the Dubai-Al Ain road.
Six workers in the minibus died at the scene, while the Emirati woman died at noon after being flown to the hospital and undergoing surgery, police sources said. Of the injured, two were in critical condition yesterday, five were in serious condition and four had been treated for minor injuries, said Dr Victor Butros, a trauma specialist at the hospital. "They are all undergoing treatment, except for one, who has already been discharged," he said.
The first casualty reached the hospital by helicopter at 7.30am, and the last arrived by ambulance at 10.30am. According to Dr Butros, the injured were being treated for spinal and cranial injuries as well as for an assortment of fractures. Mukhtar Ahmed, 48, a construction worker from Pakistan who was among the slightly injured, was sitting by the exit door of the van before the impact. He hit his head when the vehicle rolled, and hours later he was still dazed and sore.
"God showed a lot of mercy on me," he said. "My colleagues, people sitting next to me, died, but I survived," he said. Mohammed Rasheed, 34, another Pakistani construction worker, blacked out during the accident and did not realise that some of his colleagues had died. "I just found out," he said. "I am shocked but also thank God for saving me." Mr Rasheed maintained that the bus was making a U-turn when the accident occurred. Abdul Rahman, 35, from Bangladesh, also spoke of a U-turn.
"He said that he last remembers the bus taking a U-turn on the road," said Reza ul Karim, Mr Rahman's brother, who was at the hospital to take Mr Rahman home. The men on the minibus work for Al Qutbi, a contracting company, said an employee from the company who rushed to the hospital to check on the injured. The employee, Nadi Sabr, would not comment on the crash other than to confirm the nationalities of some of the people involved. "They come from Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan," he said.
Walid al Sawalhi, director of finance and administration at Rashid Hospital, said the hospital was seeing too many victims of road crashes involving minibuses and minivans. "I don't think it is the vehicles themselves that are dangerous, but people don't know how to drive them," he said. "They need to understand the rules and regulations of the roads and know how to follow them. "People are driving very fast, and speeding is the cause for many deaths," he said. "They tend to happen in the early mornings on the open roads. There needs to be more control and more awareness."
Yesterday's crash pushed the death toll on that particular stretch of road this year to 13, police sources said. According to Dubai Police Traffic Department statistics, six people were killed in crashes between January and September this year - four of them labourers who died in a minibus crash in February that also happened in the morning on the same part of the road. Ten others were injured in that crash.
About 145 people died on Dubai roads between January and August this year. * The National with additional reporting by Awad Mustafa