x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Minibus crash survivor recalls horror

A week after five workers died when their minibus rolled into a ditch the men who lived reveal the terror they went through.

Mohammed Majnu Mia ( left ) and Badshah Khan ( right ) from Bangladesh at the labour camp in Dibba in Fujairah.
Mohammed Majnu Mia ( left ) and Badshah Khan ( right ) from Bangladesh at the labour camp in Dibba in Fujairah.

FUJAIRAH // Survivors of the Dibba minibus crash that claimed five lives last week have recounted the terror of the moment their vehicle careened out of control.

After a tyre burst at 6.40am on February 16, the Sunline General Contracting company minibus loaded with 11 workers crashed into a barrier, over the railing and into a ditch. Majnu Mia, a 40-year-old mason from Bangladesh, was thrown from a window. The man sitting next him, Lal Chand, died on impact.

"I get scared just remembering the accident," says Mr Mia. "It happened in seconds and some of my colleagues didn't survive. Lal didn't make it. We were sitting talking to each other when there was a big sound of tyre burst. The bus hit the railing and toppled. We were screaming for our lives as the bus fell into the ditch. The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital with bad injuries."

Of the 11 on-board, six were taken to hospital and five died at the scene. The bodies of the dead workers - four Bangladeshi men and one Indian - are yet to be repatriated.

Sitting on the other side of Mr Mia that day was Badshah Khan. He said he remembered writhing in pain as soon as the bus stopped rolling.

"I could hear people screaming in the bus," he said. "I had bad injuries all over my body and was shouting for help."

Mr Mia and Mr Khan were discharged from Dibba Hospital on Monday. Mr Mia, who sustained head and shoulder injuries, said his remaining colleagues have been taking care of him well in the labour camp.

"I don't have anyone here except my colleagues. They've been taking care of me since I got admitted into the hospital. They are good people," he said.

The 11 remaining workers at Sunline, who were not on the bus that day, have also visited the driver of the minibus.

Mohammed Shamim, one of those co-workers, said the driver was still under observation.

"The driver is speaking and is OK now. He said he was driving the vehicle at 90kph but the police we spoke to said he was driving very fast. We don't know what is the truth," he said.

The remaining men returned to work on Monday, but said they were nervous about travelling by minibus.

"It's so dangerous. We heard about so many accidents involving minibuses. Drivers should drive them carefully. We need more safety," said Mr Shamim.