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Dubai bus crash: Bus tragedy victims' families urge authorities to remove barricade

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on February 28, 2021 | Last updated on February 28, 2021 at 06.31 am
KT file photo

Many have told Khaleej Times that they are in dire need of legal counsel and are struggling to keep their head above water due to mounting financial issues.

Two years after the fatal bus crash killed 17 people in Dubai, families of victims are continuing to be emotionally distraught.

Many have told Khaleej Times that they are in dire need of legal counsel and are struggling to keep their head above water due to mounting financial issues.


Dubai bus crash: Bus tragedy victims' families urge authorities to remove barricade (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/assets/png/KT27991228.PNG)

Sapna Moolchandani lost her younger sister, Roshni, when the bus driver from Oman rammed the passenger bus into an overhead vehicle barrier near the Rashidiya metro station on June 6, 2019.

For the first time after the accident, the 29-year-old recently visited Dubai to meet with authorities and seek counsel on how they are moving ahead with this case.


Dubai bus crash: Bus tragedy victims' families urge authorities to remove barricade (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/assets/png/KT27990228.PNG)

Sapna, who returned to India on February 26, said she visited the accident site. “It was a difficult thing to do, but I mustered the courage and visited the accident site. It was painful to see the barrier still there.”

Sapna lit incense sticks in the memory of her sister and other victims ,when she visited the site two days before her return to India.

“The barricade needs to be replaced with another material immediately, so an accident of this kind does not happen again. ”

The ill-fated bus was returning from Muscat after the Eid break when the driver took the wrong turn and drove into a lane that was not meant for buses. He was also driving twice over the approved speed limit of the road. Due to the high speed, the driver hit a warning sign and rammed into a metal barrier, which caused the immediate deaths of 15 passengers onboard, while two more succumbed to their injuries afterwards. Twelve Indians, two Pakistanis, an Omani, an Irish woman, and a Filipina were killed in that tragedy.

On Thursday, the sentence of the bus driver, who was found guilty of causing the deaths of 17 passengers, has been commuted from seven years to one year in prison.

The Court of Cassation in Dubai also ordered the driver to pay Dh3.4 million as blood money and a fine of Dh50,000. It also approved the decision to cancel the deportation sentence.

Many of the families lost their sole breadwinners in the accident.

A relative of father and son victims — Ummer Chonokadavath (65) and Nabil Ummer (25) — Fawaz Ebrahim said: “There has not been much movement in the case. My uncle (Ummer) left behind his wife and three kids. After the accident, they moved back to their hometown in Kerala. They are in a financially difficult situation and the blood money will really help them financially.”

Fawaz said the families have some bank liabilities and the only have financial support they have is from their daughter’s husband. Like Sapna, Fawaz said his family has also not appointed a doctor and are unsure of where to get legal aid from and how to proceed to fight their case.

Sapna’s cousin Manisha Thakur lost her husband Vikram in the accident. “Manisha had to return to India, and she is now unemployed and is facing financial difficulties. Moreover, the pandemic has also taken a toll on her.”

Indian Mission to provide tele-legal counselling

Sapna Moolchandani, who lost her younger sister, Roshni, met with the Consul-General of India to Dubai Dr Aman Puri, who promised assistance and counselling in this case.

The consulate told Khaleej Times it has been following up the case and providing necessary advice and guidance. “The consulate will be communicating an advisory on the next steps to be taken by the family members. Upon request, a tele-legal counselling session can be also be organised for any specific advice that families may require,” said Dr Puri.

“Legal counselling has already been organised at the consulate for one of the family members who made a visit to discuss the progress of the case” he added.

“During this meeting, I’ve assured them that the consulate will continue to provide all possible assistance. We are very hopeful that the families of the victims will be able to have the judgement executed soon, after which they will be in a position to file for compensation as well,” he said.

>Speeding bus hits height barrier: Bus driver exceeded the speed limit by more than double

>He took the wrong lane: The four-lane road is divided into two, one for buses and another for cars

>Warning signals were not followed: Warning lights are located 342 metres from the crash site (indicating the right lanes, height restrictions, speed bumps)

>Sign boards were ignored: A big warning sign board is up 317 metres from crash site, and another sign just before the metal barrier

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88





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