Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Two Emirati toddlers left in car die as vehicle goes up in flames

The children were aged one and three

Police say two young children were in the vehicle when it burst into flames. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Police
Police say two young children were in the vehicle when it burst into flames. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Police

Two Emirati children died when the vehicle they were left in burst into flames in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Toddlers Maktoum Al Hasouni, 1, and Shamayil Al Hasouni, 3, were found dead in the burnt remains of a Mercedes-Benz G-Class G-Wagen.

The car was parked outside One To Ten Gifts in Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi when it caught fire. The children's mother had left them in the car while she had gone into a shop.

A witness, who preferred not to be named, said she saw the fire start in the back of the car between 5.30pm and 6pm and, within minutes, the vehicle was ablaze.

"There were three children in the car, the eldest — a four year old boy — jumped out of the car to call his mother from inside the shop as soon as he saw the fire start,” the woman, who works at a nearby cafe, told The National.

"He closed the door behind him and nobody knew there were two more children inside."

She said the mother, in her early 20s, ran out to try save her children but was unable to open the doors.

The car was completely burnt by the time Civil Defence arrived, the woman said

"Nobody could do anything, the car was completely on fire and even if we opened the door, we knew the children were already gone."

Police called the father who, after the fire had been extinguished, sat cross-legged on the floor crying, the witness said.

She said the mother was in shock and passers-by shielded her from seeing the remains of her children before she was taken to hospital.

"The surviving son was inside the ambulance. He did not see either and, when he asked where his sibling were, we told him they were taken to the doctor for an injection. But he didn’t believe us. He told us ‘I know they were inside the car and they got burnt. Now who will I play with?’"

Police and Civil Defence cleared the scene at 10.30pm, the witness said.

"I left very sad I could not sleep all night, and I just rushed to my son and held him tight.”

Brig Gen Mohammad Al Rashidi, director of criminal security for Abu Dhabi Police, said the cause of the fire and the deaths of the children were under investigation.

He urged parents not to leave young children unattended in vehicles.

The Al Hasouni children were buried at Bani Yas Cemetery after dhuhr payers [12pm] on Wednesday.

The country has seen a series of accidents involving parental negligence, in which children have had to be rescued from overheated cars, have drowned in swimming pools and died in house fires.

Judicial officials previously said parents found to have caused their child's death will be held to account.

Updated: November 13, 2019 06:43 PM

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