x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Buses collide causing Sheikh Zayed Road traffic gridlock

A school bus and a second bus have collided on the southbound carriageway of Sheikh Zayed Road near Dubai Media City.

The accident caused traffic gridlock on Sheikh Zayed Road near Dubai Media City, as seen from near the Mall of the Emirates.
The accident caused traffic gridlock on Sheikh Zayed Road near Dubai Media City, as seen from near the Mall of the Emirates.

A group of school children escaped unhurt after their bus collided with a mini van on the southbound carriageway of Sheikh Zayed Road this morning.

The accident happened near Dubai Media City at 7.20am and involved a van and a school bus on its way to Delhi Private School in The Gardens near Jebel Ali.

The school's principal, Rashmi Nandkeolyar, said none of the children were hurt and all were back in class.

"The children are absolutely all right and are back in school," she said. “They were a little shocked because of the noise of the glass shattering. We rang up each and every parent to assure them that the children are safe."

She said the school had been inundated with calls from anxious parents.

Police earlier described the crash as "serious" and advised motorists to avoid the area. Witnesses said some of the injured were airlifted to hospital.

Stationary traffic stretched as far back as Trade Centre Roundabout, with the Abu Dhabi bound lanes of Sheikh Zayed Road closed until approximately 9.30am.

“I saw that a school bus had collided with a mini van,” a witness said. “There was a helicopter which airlifted injured people. There was a huge jam because of the accident."

School representatives said the accident happened when a van travelling in front of its school bus suffered a tyre blow out. The van suddenly slowed down causing the school bus to crash into its rear end. The school said 28 children from kindergarten level to grade 12 were on board.

Other buses from the school travelling on the same route pulled up at the side of the road to help the children, teachers and staff.

“The primary school teacher, who was there, immediately transferred the children to the other buses," Ms Nandkeolyar said. "The police were also extremely helpful and efficient in moving the children to another bus."

One of the four teachers accompanying the children sustained minor injuries and was taken to Al Baraha Hospital for treatment, the school said.  The bus driver suffered a broken leg and was taken to Al Rashid Hospital. He is expected to be discharged tomorrow. The bus attendant also sustained minor injuries.

Salah bin Faroosha, Dubai's chief traffic prosecutor, said a full statement on the condition of those injured would be released later this afternoon.

The accident caused lengthy tail backs on Sheikh Zayed Road and alternative routes including Al Sufouh Road.

"I took Umm Suqeim Street when I saw traffic ahead of me on Sheikh Zayed was not moving," said Khairallah Suheib, a Pakistani office manager who works in Jebel Ali. "When I got to Sufouh Road I knew I was going to be late for work because traffic was barely moving."

Hassan Morgan, an Egyptian pharmacist, added: "I heard on the radio that traffic was stopped on Sheikh Zayed Road because of a big crash and thought it would be smart to come down this way [Al Sufouh Road]. But it seems that everyone else had the same idea."

The wrecked vehicles and debris had been removed from Sheikh Zayed Road by 9.30am, allowing the road to be reopened to traffic.