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Al Ain accident survivors tell of agonising moments

Nissar Hoath / 6 February 2013

Grief and shock gripped the UAE on Tuesday, a day after the road accident in Al Ain which claimed 24 lives, including those of 18 Bangladeshi workers. Survivors narrated the agonising moments as tears were shed for the men in their home countries.

The driver of the truck that was involved in the crash, has been arrested, while the bus driver, who suffered a broken arm, is recuperating from his injury in hospital.

Lt-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, visited Tawam Hospital late on Monday night and assured full government support to the injured men.

Police on Monday said the initial investigations showed the truck driver had lost control because of brake failure and crashed into the bus.

Senior diplomats from the Bangladesh and Pakistan embassies, meanwhile, shuttled between the capital and Al Ain to help the workers and assist in the repatriation of the bodies.

Shaikh Saif talking to an injured accident victim at Al Tawam Hospital in Al Ain. — Wam  

Latiful Haq Kazmi, Labour Affairs Consul at the Bangladesh Embassy, told Khaleej Times that the number of Bangladeshis, who had lost their lives in the accident was 18, while 14 suffered minor to serious injuries.

“Earlier, we thought 16 Bangladeshis perished in the accident, but today we have detected two fatalities that bring the total number of deaths among our citizens to 18. The number of injured was over 20, but after the release of some workers with minor injuries, now there are 14 Bangladeshi workers who are in different Al Ain hospitals and we have visited them all. Three of the injured are in ICU and nine in surgical unit at Tawam Hospital, while two are being treated for minor injuries in other hospitals,” said Kazmi.

The Indian Ambassador M.K. Lokesh said one Indian worker was killed. An Egyptian was also killed, but the identity of the four other workers has not been ascertained.

On the repatriation process, Kazmi said the Bangladesh Embassy was awaiting the completion of the police investigation to process the papers.

“As soon as all the legal procedures as per the UAE laws are complete, we will repatriate the bodies without any delay. Though the company, as per law, is responsible for the repatriation of the dead, we will make sure no cost is borne by their family members or friends.”

He said “the embassy would help settle compensation claims and make sure the life insurance settlements are done to help their families back home”.

The official further added the embassy is in constant touch with the consortium company and other manpower supply companies.

Farooq Langov, Labour and Community Affairs Consular at Pakistan Embassy, said both the drivers of the truck and bus, who survived the fatal accident, have been identified as Pakistani citizens. He said no Pakistani worker perished in the accident, but five Pakistanis, including the bus driver, sustained medium to severe injuries and have been hospitalised.

“The bus driver, identified as Mushtaq, sustained right arm fracture and is at Tawam Hospital while the truck driver, identified as Mamoor, who hails from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, sustained minor injuries and was arrested and is now in police custody. One of the Pakistani workers is in criticalcondition in Tawam Hospital ICU,” he told Khaleej Times.

Langov further added the bus that belonged to a Dubai-based contracting company was carrying 46 workers at the time of the accident.

“On the instruction of Ambassador Jamil Ahmed Khan, I visited the accident site and all the injured and inquired about their health condition yesterday and today. I also assured them all the support the embassy could give them. I also met the senior officials of the company the workers are employed with to get further details about Pakistani workers,” said Langov.

The diplomat added he also visited and met Bangladeshi injured and inquired about their health.

A senior official from the contracting company also visited the injured on Monday and inquired about their condition. According to sources, the official assured all financial support for the repatriation of the victims and would help with compensation claims.


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