x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Three die as tanker smashes into cafeteria

A tanker ploughed into a roadside cafe in Fujeirah, killing three people, after it collided with a Lexus car.

Police are investigating the cause of yesterday’s crash that left three people dead and four injured.
Police are investigating the cause of yesterday’s crash that left three people dead and four injured.

FUJAIRAH // Three men were killed and four people injured when a tanker smashed into a cafeteria after colliding with a car near Fujairah yesterday.

A police spokesman described the accident, which caused tailbacks of over an hour, as “really horrific”.

Fujairah Police’s emergency centre received a call at 12pm from a member of the public, saying that a lorry and two cars had crashed into a highway cafeteria, at the main intersection of Bitna, heading to Masafi from Fujairah.

“We don’t know yet who exactly is at fault,” said Lieut Col Saeed al Homar, director of public relations at Fujairah Police. “This accident was just so huge and we put in all our efforts at containing the situation."

Five men, including the owner, were inside the Khafayif Restaurant & Cafeteria at the time. Two of the men who died were employees at the cafeteria, were killed. The third casualty was the tanker driver, a 34-year-old man from India.

The other three men inside the cafeteria were injured and have been admitted to Fujairah Hospital, according to a nurse on the surgical ward in the hospital.
“They have fractures and cuts and bruises, but they are no longer in critical condition,” she said.

Although it is not clear who is at fault, there is an illegal U-turn near the area, described by police as “dangerous”.

“The truck and a Lexus hit each other, then then crashed into a car parked by the cafeteria, and all three vehicles crashed into the cafeteria,”  Lieut Col al Homar said.
“We will investigate the cause, but our key witness is the truck driver, and he is dead.”

The lorry, an industrial chemical tanker owned by Al Rama International Trading, had to be pulled out of the cafeteria with a crane. Police said the grocery store adjoining the cafeteria, Khafayif Supermarket, was also damaged.

Brigadier-General Mohammed al Kaabi, director general of the Fujairah Police, was on hand to oversee the removal of the bodies from the debris.

He said he will be continuing Fujairah Police’s efforts to close off the stretch of road where the unauthorised U-turn is located, as it has been the site of several accidents in the past.

“It took two hours just to remove the truck and the bodies,”  Lieut Col al Homar said. All of the dead and injured were between 25 and 40 years old. “It is very sad, this loss of life.”

hkhalaf@thenational.ae