Video: Sheikh Mohammed meets UAE student rescued in bus fire
Dubai - The school bus caught fire in Sharjah's Kalba area yesterday.
A 14-year-old boy - whose presence of mind and quick thinking helped save the life of three of his school mates after their bus went up in flames - has received appreciation from the highest quarters. On Wednesday, as the boy was in his school in Sharjah's Kalba, he got called in to the principal's office to meet none other that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
In a video released by Sheikh Mohammed on his Instagram account, the UAE Vice-President can be seen walking into the office and then hugging the boy, Khalifa Abdullah Al Kaabi. They then sit on a sofa and exchange a few words before Sheikh Mohammed gets up and hugs him again. In another video that went viral on social media, Sheikh Mohammed can be seen walking around the school - Al Qudwa School for Basic Education - with his arm around the boy's shoulder.
Praising the boy's courage, Sheikh Mohammed tweeted: "During my tour today of the Eastern Region to follow up on the education process at the beginning of the new academic year, I was very keen to visit the hero student, Khalifa Abdullah. He is a source of pride for his generation. His courage reflects our original values. We are thankful for his brave stance and effort to rescue his colleagues when the fire erupted in their school bus."
Sources said the school management was surprised by the visit. "He insisted on visiting the school and thank the boy for his bravery and quick action," a source said.
Boy recounts ordeal
It was just another day for Khalifa, who was sitting with his friends at the back of the bus. The grade eight boy felt some heat emanating from the bus floor and noticed smoke. "I immediately alerted the bus driver, who came and said there was nothing wrong."
A few seconds later, the engine caught fire. "I shouted at the driver to stop the bus. I then pushed the students out to safety." Moments later, the entire bus went up in flames. "I took the mobile phone of the driver and called the police," Khalifa said.
The firefighters arrived at the site, cordoned it and doused the flame in under two minutes.
According to the Ministry of Education, there were only a "few students" onboard. "No one was hurt and investigations are underway to identify the reasons behind the fire. Another bus was provided to safely transport the students to their school."
Abdullah Ali Al Kaabi, the boy's father, said his son was very smart and "well-known" for his instant reaction. "I am so proud of his heroic action. Almighty Allah has chosen him for this critical mission despite his young age."