x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Chaos as lorry flips on Sheikh Zayed Road killing driver

A fatal road accident along Sheikh Zayed Road resulted in a traffic jam that lasted for several hours.

DUBAI // A lorry driver died after his vehicle flipped on Sheikh Zayed Road, causing traffic chaos on the main link between Abu Dhabi and Dubai for more than three hours.

Police closed all four Abu Dhabi-bound lanes on the motorway, and two heading to Dubai, after the accident occurred on the border of the two emirates about 10.10am.

Dubai Police said reckless driving may have caused the Asian lorry driver's death.

The gridlock led organisers of today's Tri Yas Abu Dhabi Triathlon at the Yas Marina Circuit to put on an extra heat at 5.30pm for competitors who were delayed.

Police were directing Abu Dhabi-bound traffic to drive one-by-one through the sand next to the hard shoulder at the accident site, bypassing liquid that smelled strongly of petrol on all four lanes.

The police spokesman denied the lorry was a petrol tanker but did not say what it was carrying.

Matthew Smith, 29, who lives in Abu Dhabi, was driving to Dubai when he passed the wreckage.

"I drove by just as they were lowering the body into the bag and zipping him in," Mr Smith said.

The cabin of the truck was "completely crushed. It looked as if the truck had smashed really hard into the median barrier.

"Our side of the median was completely buckled and going into the fast lane as well, and there was a good amount of sand and dirt that had been thrown into the middle of our side of the road.

"It's the first time I've ever seen anything so horrific here."

Motorists took to social-networking sites to warn others of the traffic jam.

The crash came days after 24 people were killed and 24 injured on the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain truck road, when a lorry ploughed into the back of a bus carrying 45 maintenance workers on Monday.

It overturned on top of the bus, dumping 75 tonnes of sand and building materials on the workers, who suffocated.