x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Arrest made for illegal video of bus crash

The video, made on a mobile phone, has been circulating on social media since the accident on Saturday morning. It showed the bloodied bodies of the victims lying on the ground near the crash site on Emirate Road and the mangled remains of the bus.

DUBAI // An emergency response worker has been arrested after filming the scene of Saturday’s bus crash in which 13 labourers died.

The video, shot on a mobile phone, has been on social media since the accident on Saturday morning.

It shows the bloodied bodies of the victims lying on the ground near the crash site on Emirates Road, and the mangled remains of the bus.

Col Saif Al Mazrouei, director of the Dubai Police traffic department, said the video had not been made by a police officer.

“This is something we reject. This was not filmed by a police officer,” Col Al Mazrouei said.

“To film something like that on your mobile phone is not something we accept from a police officer or a civilian.”

He said only official police photographers from the forensics team were allowed to take photos or footage of accidents, to help with investigations.

“Officers have strict instructions not to film or take pictures of accident bodies,” Col Al Mazrouei said.

The labourers died and more than a dozen were injured after their bus ploughed into the back of a stationary lorry.

A police source said the video was made by someone who was called to the scene.

“This is something that is completely frowned upon and there is absolutely no respect or privacy for the deceased or their families,” the source said.

“The person who took the video has been found and transferred to Public Prosecution.

“It is illegal what this person did and he should face the consequences of filming while he was supposed to be doing a job.

“It is even more of a crime because the video was then sent out for public viewing. This is tragic.”

Maj Gen Khamis Al Muzeina, chief of Dubai Police, said the matter would not be taken lightly.

“As soon as the video was spread, Dubai Police looked for the source and was able within hours to know who the source behind the filming and publishing of the video was,” Gen Al Muzeina said.

“Dubai Police has repeatedly warned against using or publishing videos or pictures that may harm those involved in legal procedures.”

He said preliminary investigations into the accident were focusing on whether the bus driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.

“It seems like the driver may have dozed off and lost control of the vehicle,” said Gen Al Muzeina.

“It’s almost certain he was speeding because of the way the accident happened.”

Gen Al Muzeina said the hours drivers spent behind the wheel needed to be closely monitored.

“The problem is not that there are not enough resting points for drivers on highways and roads,” he told the Direct Line programme on Sharjah Radio.

“The problem is that sometimes drivers spend long hours on the road, something that can be exhausting.”

Gen Al Muzeina said companies should introduce electronic tracking systems to monitor their vehicles and record the time drivers spent on the road.

“This electronic system is already used in the US and the European Union and should be implemented in the UAE and other GCC countries,” he said.

The Roads and Transport Authority is setting up more resting points for drivers, Gen Al Muzeina said.

“Drivers should not be on the road for more than six hours at a time and should be able to get sufficient rest in between,” he said.

“The police will not fine drivers if they stop their car away from the main road and away from danger.

“He can rest without having to worry about facing any consequences.”

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae