x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Six dead, dozens hurt in 5.30am bus crash

A bus carrying Indian construction workers to a job site was struck on the Abu Dhabi-Al Sila Road by a lorry while making a U-turn, killing six and injuring dozens.

The bus driver remains in intensive care in an Abu Dhabi hospital.
The bus driver remains in intensive care in an Abu Dhabi hospital.

Six people were killed and dozens injured in a crash in Al Gharbia yesterday morning. The crash happened when a Tata bus carrying Indian construction workers to a job site made an unsafe U-turn on the Abu Dhabi-Al Sila Road at about 5.30am, according to Col Hamad Said al Dhahiri, the head of Al Gharbia Police Department. A Mercedes lorry driving from Abu Dhabi hit the bus from behind. "Initial findings show that the driver of the bus made a U-turn without checking the road but we have not been able to talk to the driver because he is not conscious," said Yasser Salem, an officer at Al Ruwais Police Station, who is investigating the crash. "The bus was carrying workers from their residence to start their work. The driver then tried to make a U-turn towards Jebel Dhanna, towards Abu Dhabi, and did not realise there was a lorry behind him, so they crashed into each other." All of the dead were workers on the bus. Forty-four others were injured, including the drivers of the bus and the lorry. Twenty-four people had severe injuries, including head injuries and coma, while 20 had minor injuries. The bus driver is in intensive care. The lorry driver was discharged from hospital with minor injures to his hands and face. The injured were treated at hospitals in Al Ruwais, Ghiathi and Zayed City except for the bus driver, who was in an Abu Dhabi hospital. Those with minor injuries have been released from hospital. Mr Salem said the dead had been taken to Al Ghiathi hospital and their bodies will be handed over to their families or companies. In 2007, 14 per cent of the emirate's crashes happened on another Al Gharbia road, the Al Mafraq-Al Ghweifat motorway. To improve safety on the motorway, the Department of Transport said last year that it would start closing dangerous U-turns on the motorway, where drivers risk turning into oncoming traffic at high speeds. hhassan@thenational.ae