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Dubai-bound bus in Oman crash: 18 dead

GTC Bus conducts one daily service from Dubai and Sharjah and passengers on board were Dubai-bound. (Supplied)

By VM Sathish

A Dubai-bound Gulf Transport Company (GTC) bus from Salalah, Oman, carrying passengers from different nationalities met with an accident in Oman, killing 18 passengers and seriously injuring 16 others.

The GTC Bus, conducts one daily service from Dubai and Sharjah, and passengers on board the crashed bus were Dubai-bound.

Royal Oman Police said a passenger bus crashed with a truck, bus and car at the Ibra-Fahud road, killing 18 people and seriously injuring 16 people.

Eighteen people died and 16 others were injured in the tragic accident that occurred in the first hour of Tuesday (01/03/2016) due to a head-on crash between a passenger bus and a light truck and a light vehicle (salon), the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said in a statement.

Quoting a report submitted by Said bin Hilal al-Daoudi, Assistant director (Fahud operations and Assistant Director of Operations), the ROP said that the head-on collision between the bus and a truck occurred near the Natih roundabout.

“Shortly thereafter, a light vehicle driver was surprised by the sudden crash in front of him and he too hit the vehicles.”

The statement said the casualties included six Omani nationals, four Saudi nationals, two Pakistanis and one Yemeni.

Five of those who died in the crash are yet to be identified.

Among the seriously injured passengers are 10 Omanis, two Saudis, one Pakistani and a Chinese national. The process of identifying the rest of the injured passengers admitted in the Intensive Care Units of various hospitals underway, according to ROP.

Lt. Col. Saeed al-Daoudi said that the ROP moved swiftly into rescue operations with support teams from Muscat and police helicopters were used to airlift injured passengers to hospitals in Ibri, Nizwa, Bahla and clinics belonging to oil companies and health centres.

The rescue operation was conducted with the support of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), other companies operating in the area and Omani citizens.

The ROP has expressed condolences to the victims’ families and hoped the injured will recover soon.

The Oman police officials also warned motorists to exercise caution while driving. The ROP advised motorists to take a break when they are feeling tired or sleepy during long drivers and inspect the roadworthiness of vehicles and their tyres.

The early morning crash between Fahud and Ibri, two cities in the western part of Muscat, Oman has been widely discussed on social networking sites.

Accident pictures circulating over social networking sites show an overturned truck and a totally damaged bus skeleton on one side with the overhead luggage boxes still intact.

From the pictures, it appears that people who were seated on one side of the bus bore the maximum impact as the other side is intact.

“Nine bodies have been kept in Nizwa hospital and nine other bodies are kept in Ibri hospital morgues,” said Rejimon K, an Indian journalist reporting the accident from Nizwa.

An official from Deira office of GTC Bus Services told Emirates 24|7: “We are all sad about the accident that killed 18 people and seriously injured 14 passengers. The bus, which started from Salalah yesterday evening to Dubai was supposed to reach Deira at around 7am, but it did not reach because of the accident.

“We don’t have a list of passengers who are dead or injured in the accident. The bus driver is an Omani citizen, who is critically injured and has been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit,” the manager of GTC Bus Service in Deira said.

He said the accident happened in the Oman side of the service and hence all the details are with the Salalah head office.

The officials are also not sure about any UAE nationals affected in the accident, but said normally the passenger mix from Salalah to Dubai involve Omanis, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians and Saudis. “The bus driver is an Omani national and his situation is critical,” the source said.

Perhaps one of the deadliest road accidents on the Salalah-Dubai route left various expatriate communities tense as the Oman News Agency, the official news agency of Oman, said most of the accident victims are foreigners.

“We don’t have a list of passengers coming from Salalah to Dubai. It is in the bus itself and the Salalah office will have more details,” the GTC Bus Service office in Deira Dubai told Emirates 24|7.

Rejimon said everyone is keenly waiting for an official list of bus passengers to know details of the casualties and patients admitted in various hospitals in Oman.