x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

For brother of UAE crash victim, tragedy doesn’t seem real

A crash killed Zubair Saeed's brother and friends on Eid Al Fitr but the truth will not sink in. Neither, it seems, will warnings to drivers about speeding. Yasin Kakande reports

Zubair Saeed at the site where his brother, 29-year-old Umair, was killed in an crash on Sharjah-Kalba road. Pawan Singh / The National
Zubair Saeed at the site where his brother, 29-year-old Umair, was killed in an crash on Sharjah-Kalba road. Pawan Singh / The National

Zubair Saeed knows the exact spot on the Sharjah-Kalba Road where his brother and five friends died.

He has seen the skid marks on the road and the hole made when their car crashed. He has even looked over the burnt wreck that was their vehicle at the police depot.

But the tragedy of what happened, which police attributed to speeding, still does not seem real.

Zubair's elder brother Umair's Nissan left the road, overturned and burst into flames about 3am on August 10, the second day of Eid Al Fitr.

Umair, along with Shasib Balochi and brothers Tarriq, Sameer and Saleem Abbasi were killed instantly.

A sixth man, who was unidentified, also died. All were from Pakistan.

"How it could have gone so bad?" Zubair asked.

A day before the accident, Umair called his home in Bahawalpur in Punjab to speak to his mother and the rest of his family.

"He was happy and thanked them for the fasting of the holy month," said Zubair. "They could not believe it was his last call and now our mother is disturbed beyond words. She calls it the 'farewell call'.

"My brother was sole breadwinner of the family and was planning to bring me to Dubai to work to help the family together. On the call he promised that after the Eid holidays he would apply for the visa, but he did not get through the holidays."

Debris from the crash still litters the scene in a mountainous area of Wadi Al Helio on the Sharjah-Kalba Road. A metal barrier is twisted and bent from the force of the impact.

"Nothing was left, not the car or anyone inside you could recognise after the blaze," said Maj Khalid Al Zaabi, director of investigations at Kalba Police.

The speed limit along the winding stretch of road is 40kph. Maj Al Zaabi said the accident was caused by speeding.

Zubair said his brother, who worked as a engineer for a company in Dubai, was regarded by his family as an "example of a true success".

"Everyone talked about him having his own flat and a new car in Dubai," he said. "His boss called me on the phone to convey the message after the accident, but he feared to say my brother had died and said he was in a very critical condition.

"But as he talked he broke down and cried. That is when I knew my brother had died."

Zubair arrived in the UAE last month hoping to have his brother's remains released quickly so he could be buried in Pakistan.

"I came on August 14 and since then have been up and down through the bureaucracies to help police finalise their investigations, and allow us to bury the remains of my brother, as well his friends he was with on that fateful day," he said.

Police initially believed the six men were from a single family but investigations and DNA tests revealed only three were brothers.

"The first task on arrival was to do the DNA tests to establish that it was my real brother who had perished," said Zubair.

"After the test results were returned, the prosecution allowed us to have the bodies for either repatriation or burial here. The families all chose to bury them in Sharjah on August 23."

Zubair said he extended his visit visa to finalise the details of any claims for compensation from his brother's insurance company.

"So far the issues with the insurance have been that the car was overloaded," he said. "An overloaded car and speeding are all traffic violations.

"They say they are still doing their studying and investigations into the incident and need to reach a decision."

ykakande@thenational.ae