Sharjah: Heartbroken neighbours grieve as 7-year-old dies inside locked car

’He always had a smile about him and would firmly hold on to his mother’s hand when she dropped him off for private tuition classes', one said

by

Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 7 May 2024, 11:27 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 May 2024, 7:29 AM

Neighbours of a 7-year-old boy — who died in a locked car in Sharjah on Monday — are grieving his loss. The Bangladeshi boy remained inside the locked vehicle for several hours and was found dead by the driver hired to drop and pick him up from school.

The boy was a student of Ibn Sina School in Sharjah, the Consulate-General of Bangladesh told Khaleej Times.


Neighbours remembered the little boy as a happy, friendly child.

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Muhammad Imran Sharif, a resident of Bu Tina, said: “He always had a smile whenever we saw him. I can’t believe he’s gone. I am just heartbroken.”

Ariful Islam, the watchman of a building where the boy used to go for private tuitions, is currently in Bangladesh. But he heard about the tragic news on Tuesday morning from a resident of the area.

“After Asr (evening prayer), the boy used to come to the building for tuitions. He always had a smile about him. He would firmly hold on to his mother’s hand when coming,” Islam said. “I was going somewhere important today when I heard about this. I was so shocked that I abandoned all my plans and came back.”

Khaleej Times has learnt that the boy’s parents have ‘forgiven’ the female driver. It’s not immediately clear if the police will take legal action against her in the absence of a formal complaint.

The woman is in a state of shock, according to people who know her.

Not licensed

The driver was not licensed to transport schoolchildren, the Sharjah Police have said.

She was hired by some parents to drop and pick their children up from school. On Monday morning, she picked the students up from their homes and parked the car near the school. All occupants — except the boy — exited the vehicle.

Failing to notice that the boy was inside, the woman left with her husband in another car. After a few hours, when she came back to pick the students up, she found the little boy dead inside the vehicle, the police added.

It was not immediately clear how long the boy remained inside. Monday was a hot day, with highs of nearly 44°C recorded. Temperatures can reach as high as 60°C inside locked cars parked under direct sun. Experts had previously highlighted how leaving a child inside a vehicle in such extreme hot conditions can prove fatal.

Illegal car lift services

Due to the costs associated with authorised school buses, some parents opt for cheaper, illegal car lift services. A quick search on parents’ forums on social media showed several results for unauthorised lift services.

The Sharjah Police have warned parents against using illegal car lift services, stressing that licensed school buses are equipped with all security and safety measures. Drivers and attendants are monitored by the relevant authorities as well, the police added.

Authorities in the UAE had stepped up security protocols in school buses after instances of children being forgotten on board. In 2019, a six-year-old Indian boy died after he remained inside a bus for several hours outside an educational institution. In a similar incident in Abu Dhabi, a KG1 pupil died on board a locked bus in 2014.

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