x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Road safety plea after boy, 9, dies at killer junction

The head of a school next to a busy road junction called for action to ensure his pupils' safety yesterday after a nine-year-old boy died in a car crash at the weekend.

A nine-year-old boy died in a road accident on Saturday at the junction of Muroor Road and 21 Street in Abu Dhabi.
A nine-year-old boy died in a road accident on Saturday at the junction of Muroor Road and 21 Street in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // The head of a school next to a busy road junction called for action to ensure his pupils' safety yesterday after a nine-year-old boy died in a car crash at the weekend.

Fazan Akhtar was sitting in the back of his father's car at the junction of Muroor and 21st Street when their vehicle was involved in a collision with another car. Fazan was killed instantly, despite the efforts of horrified onlookers to help.

"Drivers are always in a hurry in this area, the authorities should build an overpass or underpass on Muroor Street and add speed bumps to 21st Street," said Zahoor Ahmad, the acting principal of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Arab Pakistani school.

He has witnessed numerous accidents and near-misses in his eight years at the school and is concerned for the safety of his pupils, aged 4 to 17.

Police had visited the school to speak to the children about safety, but Mr Ahmad said more should be done to prevent further tragedies.

Tareq Abdel Rasool Mohammed Arfa, the manager of Al Jazeera shisha cafe on the corner of Muroor and 21st, witnessed the fatal accident shortly after Friday prayers.

He rushed to help to move the overturned vehicle, but was too late.

"The boy was in really bad shape, the scene was so gruesome I really don't want to explain what it looked like," he said.

"He seemed to have some breath in him initially but died right there and then. It looked as if his mum wasn't going to make it either."

Mr Arfa called the area "Death Junction", and said that in the year he had worked near by he had seen numerous accidents, including one in which a driver was forced to scramble from an overturned car that burst into flames.

He suggested part of the problem was the staging of the signals, with drivers noticing the green lights for vehicles going straight, but missing the red arrow telling them not to turn.

There are two schools and a mosque at the junction, making it busy with both vehicles and pedestrians.

The dead boy who was a popular Grade 4 pupil at Islamia English School on Defence Road. "He was such a cute little boy, we are all completely in shock," said the school's principal, Safi VS.

"After we heard the news we visited the family to try to console them but they were inconsolable. We couldn't see the body as it was at the hospital."

She said the boy's father had returned to Pakistan after the accident.

"The teachers are all finding it hard to teach," she said. "We held a special assembly and prayers for him today. No one is sitting in his chair, it has been left vacant in his memory."

talsubaihi@thenational.ae