Officials inspect the site of the accident. File
Hamza M Sengendo, Staff Reporter
A bus driver behind the death of 17 and injury of 13 vacationers confessed to manslaughter at the Dubai Traffic Court on Tuesday.
The Omani driver, 53, was driving at more than twice the speed limit in an undesignated lane on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road when he rammed the bus into a height barrier at Rashidiyah exit around 5.40pm on Jun.6.
Prosecutors charged him with wrongfully causing the death of seventeen passengers. They also charged him with causing harm to thirteen others who escaped with varied injuries, and inflicting the bus with grave damage.
The victims were returning from Eid Al Fitr holidays in Oman. He was not following road signs nor using the compulsory route. He used a lane allocated for cars and thus crashed the bus into the height restriction barrier.
During court questioning the defendant acknowledged the incident but argued that the sun was shining directly in his face. “I could not see well. I pulled down the bus’s small curtain to protect the eyes from the sun’s rays.”
The defendant argued that at first he did not see the metallic height barrier. “The moment I saw it I tried to veer the bus and avoid the impact but failed and crashed into it,” he explained to Judge Ali Abdul Wahhab Ghunaim.
The Head of the Dubai Traffic Prosecution, Salah Bu Faroucha Al Felaasi asked the jury to hand him the toughest punishment applicable, to serve as a deterrent for others. “His carelessness caused a painful incident,” he said.
He stressed, “The street where the incident happened had zero accidents over the past ten years.” The defendant’s lawyer asked for time to review the file. The jury turned down his request to release the defendant on bail.
The speed limit for the lane where the incident happened was 40km/h. The defendant was driving at 94km/h. 15 died on impact. He faces more than seven years in jail and paying Dhs3.4m in blood money (diya). Case continues.
Abu Dhabi Police Central Operations Command dispatched Civil Defence teams, ambulances and police patrols to the site.
A 5-car pile up occurred on the road between Fujairah and Qadfaa when a vehicle driven by a UAE national on the way from Fujairah towards Qadfaa veered off and jumped off to the opposite lane leading to the city of Fujairah, according to Brigadier Dr Ali Rashid Bin Awash Al Yamahi.
Indonesians in Dubai and the Northern Emirates are looking at spending time with their countrymen at the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesian in Al Hudaiba, Dubai this first day of the Eid Al Fitr.
At the onset, Sheikh Mohamed conveyed the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to King Abdullah II and the emphasised the longstanding and historic relations between the UAE and Jordan.
Once the trials, which are scheduled for the month of February, are over the service will be available at the Dubai International Airport.
UAE leaders offered condolences to Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait following the death of Sheikha Fadhaa Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah.