x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Four die in Mussafah bus crash

40 others injured with speed blamed as driver loses control under Shabia Bridge in Mussafah.

ABU DHABI // Four men were killed and 40 injured - two critically - in a bus accident early yesterday in Mussafah. The driver lost control of the bus because he was speeding and driving carelessly, said Lt Yousef al Bahlouli, head of the Abu Dhabi Police traffic accident investigation unit.

The bus, transporting labourers, was on its way to the capital when the accident occurred beneath the Shabia Bridge at about 3.40am. Three of the passengers, all of Indian origin, died at the scene. The driver, a Pakistani, was pronounced dead on arrival at Al Mafraq Hospital at 4.25am. Two survivors sustained serious injuries while 38 others suffered mild to moderate injuries and have been discharged from hospital. Most were taken to Al Mafraq Hospital; others were transported to Zayed Military Hospital or to clinics nearer the scene of the accident.

The bus was carrying labourers from Mussafah to Abu Dhabi where they were to be dropped at a construction site. Capt Mohammed al Zaabi, director of public relations at the emergency and safety department at Abu Dhabi Police, said in a statement yesterday that "bus drivers should be cautious in their driving and wary of speeding, especially when transporting workers in the early dawn hours". He added: "Drivers need to be very alert and refrain from staying up late at night when they are making dawn runs, especially in the summer months when contractors start work earlier in the day to make up for the hours lost," he said, in reference to a rule enforced by the Ministry of Labour last month stating that until September 15 workers must put down their tools at 12.30pm for a two-and-a-half hour break.

Dr Biniam Tesfayohannes, chairman of Al Mafraq Hospital's emergency department, said most of the 27 patients his facility had received suffered only minor injuries. "There was quite a lot of backaches and neck aches," he said. "Because of where the hospital is located, we do see a lot of these types of accidents. There is a lot of construction work going on around. The main things we see are falls from heights, industrial injuries and road traffic injuries."