Thousands of tearful residents of Al Ain city, its suburbs and neighbouring Buraimi town of Oman, on Tuesday, attended the funeral of seven Emiratis who were killed in a tragic road accident in Salalah on Monday afternoon.
The municipal authorities, Al Ain Police and Traffic Department made special arrangements for the funeral procession of the deceased Saif Abdullah Al Haj Al Ka’abi and his family members with additional deployment of security forces and patrols. The procession from Al Mohthared Mosque, where funeral prayers were held earlier, to Foah graveyard, about 12km from the city centre, took more than an hour and included over 1,000 vehicles. Police patrols, ambulances and vehicles of civic authorities also accompanied the procession.
“I could not stop crying when the ambulances brought the coffins of the seven to the mosque for funeral,” said Yassir Al Balushi from Buraimi, where the larger members of the Bani Ka’ab tribe live.
The family including Saif, his wife Mariam Ghareeb Rashed Al Ka’abi, their sons Mohammed (26, a pilot with Etihad), Ahmed (8), Humaid and Abdullah, and four daughters —Fatima (18), Hamda (24), Afra (27) and Sara (15) — had gone to Salalah for Khareef festival about five days before they met with the fatal accident. Humaid and Abdullah were in another vehicle, which was following their father’s 4WD when the accident involving a truck and another vehicle driven by an Omani occurred. Two Omanis in the other car also lost their lives.
“The family every year frequented Salalah during this season to attend the annual festival. Saif was very familiar with the routes and each and every corner of the place,” Salem Ghareeb Rashed Al Ka’abi, the brother of Mariam, who sustained multiple injuries and is taking treatment at Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah.
Elaborating on the accident, Salem said that Saif and the rest of the family were returning from Mughassayl to Salalah after a day-long trip when the accident occurred.
“According to the reports we have, they were taking the mountain where they saw the truck coming down. There was another vehicle, which the truck tried to overtake and it resulted in the crash. All the seven were killed on the spot while my sister got injured and was rushed to the hospital in Salalah,” he explained.
Salem Al Adawi, one of Saif’s son-in-laws, said his father-in-law had ten children – four boys and six girls. “Hamda is married and Sara was the youngest daughter, who was a student at Zayed University. Two more daughters, including my wife and her sister are here in Al Ain,” he said.
He also said the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and Lt-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; had ordered all the arrangements for the repatriation of the bodies and surviving members of the family, providing all the logistics and support including special plane.
“My mother-in-law has been shifted from Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah to Shaikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi in another special plane ordered by His Highness the President,” he said on Tuesday.
Salalah, which is the only monsoon forest in the Middle East region, is flooded with tourists from the UAE and other GCC countries in the August and witnesses such fatal accidents almost every year.