x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lessons learnt from Fog Tuesday

A high-ranking Abu Dhabi police official said yesterday that his department has learnt lessons from the Fog Tuesday pileup, which killed four people and injured dozens.

A total of 200 hundred cars were involved in the crash due to heavy fog that resulted to the death of six people on Abu Dhabi Highway near Ghantoot.
A total of 200 hundred cars were involved in the crash due to heavy fog that resulted to the death of six people on Abu Dhabi Highway near Ghantoot.

ABU DHABI // A high-ranking Abu Dhabi police official said yesterday that his department has learnt lessons from the Fog Tuesday pileup, which killed four people and injured dozens. Major Gen Mohammed al Awadhi Minhali, director general of police operations, said the police have worked to improve communications with health, fire and rescue, and traffic authorities to provide a co-ordinated response.

Authorities had prepared training scenarios to plan for future accidents and have created a victim care centre offering support to the injured, he said. Four people were killed and more than 350 hurt when hundreds of cars collided on Sheikh Zayed Street in March after fog swept into the city, reducing visibility to just a few metres. More than 200 cars were damaged as they crashed into each other. Emergency service were swamped with around 450 calls.

Speaking at the close of the inaugural World Security Forum in Abu Dhabi yesterday, Major Gen Minhali said: "It was the first time this type of accident happened in the UAE. He said that the "lessons drawn from this incident are that we have improved co-ordination" with health services, fire and rescue departments, which come under Interior Ministry authority, and city planning authorities. "We can use the media to spread the message. We have tried to prepare various scenarios for this kind of incident.

"We have set up a victim care office which gives assistance to people affected by this kind of incident. "In future we will be working hard to avoid these kind of incidents." The conference was shown video of the crash scenes and images of Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nayhan visiting the injured as they recovered in hospital. As many as 20 cars burnt in the pileup on the main motorway between Dubai and the capital during morning rush hour on March 11. Police at the time said the crash was made worse by the fact that several buses carrying labourers were on the road. After the accident, a campaign against speeding and reckless drivers was stepped up by police and government officials.

Major Gen Minhali's remarks came on the second day of the forum, which aims to bring together some of the world's top specialists in the field of emergency planning and disaster relief. chamilton@thenational.ae