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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Parents of girl who died in car accident thank those who attended funeral in Al Ain

Fourteen-year-old Dana Al Jarrar died in a car accident last Friday but her parents were too injured to attend her funeral 

Dana Al Jarrar and her father Dr Amjad Abdul Qader. Courtesy Ehab El Sheikh
Dana Al Jarrar and her father Dr Amjad Abdul Qader. Courtesy Ehab El Sheikh

The parents of a “bright and friendly” girl who died in a car accident last week have thanked everyone who attended the funeral prayers they were forced to miss due to the severity of their injuries.

Nahid Abdul Qader sits in a wheelchair in Rashid Hospital where she and some members her family were airlifted on Friday. Her face is badly bruised and scratched and her right eye is bloodshot.

She was driving that day when a pothole derailed the family Pajero drive carrying her husband and four children, including 14-year-old Dana Al Jarrar, who died on impact.

Ms Abdul Qader, 40, says on Thursday that she is still struggling to come to terms with the loss of her eldest child. Recalling that day, she says she still does not know what happened.

The family was driving along the Dubai-Al Ain Road in the direction of Dubai, where they usually spend their weekends.

“I was driving the car when the accident occurred. It was not the first time I drive from Al Ain to Dubai,” she told The National.

“I remember my husband saying be cautious. Then, the car flipped several times.”

Dr Amjad Al Jarrar, Dana’s father and a professor at a university in the UAE, remembers everything that happened.

He says his wife had drifted a little to the side of the road when he told her to be careful.

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Read more: Thousands in Al Ain flock to heartbreaking funeral of girl, 14, after parents unable to attend

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“The car swerved to the sandy area of the road. I asked her to go back onto the road, but she couldn’t. Then, she drove over a hole which caused the car to flip several times.”

The children screamed as the car tumbled.

“I pulled myself out of the car to help my children but I felt severe pain in my leg and chest,” he says.

He remembers a motorist stopped to help them who thankfully turned out to be a doctor and performed CPR on the children.

“Everything happened so quickly,” he says. “We tried our best to help Dana and all the children.”

He says the accident was destined to happen and has been a turning point in his life, a lesson that nothing is in our hands.

“I have learnt that nothing goes as planned,” says Dr Al Jarrar.

“Dana was an angel and we will all miss her so much.”

The family were rushed to hospital; some had to be airlifted. Twelve-year-old Yara and nine-year-old Bissan suffered fractures, broken hands and legs. Mohammed, 6, fractured his pelvis in multiple places and is still in intensive care, his father constantly walking between hospital rooms to visit him.

This week, dozens of pupils from Al Dhafra School, where Ms Abdul Qader works as a teacher, visited her in hospital to check on her progress and offer their condolences on their schoolmate.

They gathered around her as she made them all promise her that they would continue to study hard to earn good grades in their upcoming exams.

Dana was a grade nine pupil and was top of her class, her mother boasts.

“She was scoring high grades in all her exams and classes,” she says.

She and her daughter were due to attend a school trip to the UK together next month and Dana had been eagerly buying clothes and bags in anticipation.

“Dana was not only a daughter, she was a sister and a friend,” she says.

Her funeral was held on Monday at Hamoudah bin Ali Mosque in Al Ain.

People attend the funeral of Dana Al Jarrar in Al Ain. Courtesy Ehab El Sheikh
People attend the funeral of Dana Al Jarrar in Al Ain. Courtesy Ehab El Sheikh

Thousands of mourners flocked to the service after hearing that her parents would not be able to attend. An estimated 3,000 people attended the funeral.

Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, thanked the people of Al Ain for their participation in the funeral and prayed for the family.

“May Allah have mercy on Dana who died in a car accident and May Allah reward Al Ain's people with the best reward for their positive citizenship. They responded to the funeral prayer calls sent via phone messages as her parents are still at the hospital (may Allah heal them) and filled Hamouda Ben Ali Mosque,” Sheikh Saif said in a post on Twitter.

“The UAE is a country of goodness,” says Ms Abdul Qader.

“I thank everyone who attended the funeral from the bottom of my heart.”