x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Tanker overturns on Emirates Road, killing two

An accident involving a petrol tanker and two sedans forced the closure of Emirates Road for several hours.

Civil defence and police had to cordon off Emirates Road for most of yesterday afternoon to clean up the petrol spilt.
Civil defence and police had to cordon off Emirates Road for most of yesterday afternoon to clean up the petrol spilt.

AJMAN // Two people died and another two remain in hospital after a petrol tanker overturned on Emirates Road in Ajman, police say.

Ajman Police received a call about the accident at around 1pm yesterday and police patrols and ambulances were immediately directed to the scene, according to Colonel Ali Saeed al Matrooshi, the director general of Traffic and Licensing Department at Ajman Police.

"The accident occurred when the driver of a petrol tanker suddenly saw a car entering the road in front of his tanker," he said. "To avoid colliding with the car, the tanker driver veered to the left lane of the road, leading to a heavy collision of his tanker with a Toyota Corolla that was behind it in the left lane. A Hyundai car travelling behind also piled on."

A male passenger in the Toyota Corolla died on the spot and his driver died a few minutes after reaching Kuwait Hospital in Sharjah. Both of the deceased were Pakistanis.

The driver of the petrol tanker and that of Hyundai were both injured and also rushed to Kuwait Hospital for treatment. Sources at the hospital said the men were both still in the emergency department by evening.

Ajman Police, Ajman Civil Defence and Sharjah Police cordoned off Emirates Road for most of the afternoon to clean up the petrol spilt onto the road during the accident.

Motorists were asked to use alternative roads like Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khan Road in Sharjah.

Col Sheikh Sultan bin Abdullah al Nuaimi, the deputy director general of Ajman Police, said one of the causes of the accident was the saloon car's negligence in entering the tanker's lane before ensuring it was clear of traffic.

"Another mistake was that the tanker driver was speeding in a way that made it hard for him to reduce his speed and avoid collision with the car entering the road," he said.

"We urge motorists entering a main road to crosscheck the traffic before suddenly jumping to the road. Motorist should also not speed as speeding makes it hard to control the car."

Despite the severity of the accident, traffic was not badly affected because the accident did not occur during rush hour. Salah Abdul Aziz, a motorists who was heading to Ajman from Sharjah at the time, said: "The police just advised us to use industrial area roads to Al Khan and then Al Arouba Street. All throughout the diversions, traffic was smooth."

This is the second traffic accident involving a petrol tanker in three days.

In a separate incident in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, a petrol tanker overturned on Al Khaleej al Arabi Road.

The accident took place near Al Mushrif Adnoc station at around 11pm.

Police were forced to close much of the road for a clean-up operation, and traffic was diverted through the inner roads of Al Mushrif.

Motorists said the resulting traffic jam continued until 7am the following morning.

Emirates Road is one of the busiest in the country, and the most dangerous. An average of 288,000 vehicles pass in one direction during rush hour and, according to Dubai Police statistics, at least 23 people died on the road in 2010.

The Ministry of Public Works announced on Monday that it would be making several expansions to the road and upgrading several interchanges as part of a Dh1 billion project.

"Expanding the road, coupled with increased driver discipline to observe all the traffic rules, would help reduce accidents there," said Col Ahmed bin Darwish, the director of Sharjah Police Patrol Unit.

ykakande@thenational.ae