x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Payment for minibus victims' families

The company whose minibus was involved in a fatal crash this week promises to compensate the families of the dead.

DUBAI // The company whose minibus was involved in a fatal crash this week near Jebel Ali promised yesterday to compensate the families of its dead workers. The firm, Al Hai and Al Mukaddam For Geotechnical Works, also said a fourth employee had died of injuries at Rashid Hospital. Ten workers were critically hurt in the accident on Monday morning.

"Compensation is happening," said Basel Mukaddam, one of the company's managing directors. He added: "One more of our employees died on Tuesday morning, and we are in touch with their relatives." Rashid hospital confirmed the man had died of trauma injuries. Mr Mukaddam also said six of the other employees involved in the crash had undergone surgery at the hospital and were all in intensive care. According to police, the accident occurred when a 4x4 suddenly shifted lanes on Jebel Ali Lhbab Road and hit the minibus. The workers' vehicle overturned, crashed into a metal barrier and landed in another lane heading in the opposite direction. Several of the workers were thrown out of the vehicle on to the road.

Two were pronounced dead at the scene, and a third at the hospital. Of the injured, seven were listed as extremely critical and suffering from brain injuries, while the others were in serious but stable conditions. Only one was well enough to be discharged on Monday. Mr Mukaddam said police were still investigating the accident: "We are waiting for the police to finish their investigation, and they have not yet released anything."

He added that the minibus, which was rented, was "perfectly safe and continually serviced". The driver of the 4x4 was detained by police. Doctors at the hospital had expressed surprise that so many of the workers suffered from head trauma resulting in brain damage, and suggested that this was because minibuses offer far less protection in an accident than other kinds of vehicles. Police said they believed the minibus adhered to international safety standards.

Minibuses are used to transport tens of thousands of labourers to construction sites around the country daily. nsamaha@thenational.ae