One dead, 61 hurt in 127-car pile-up

Part of the pile-up (Supplied)

Abu Dhabi police officials have confirmed that an Asian national was killed and 61 others injured on Saturday morning on Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway, when 127 cars were involved in the accident. NIne of the injured are critical.

Meanwhile, the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) in the UAE this morning put out a low-visibility warning for motorists.

Those driving to or from Abu Dhabi were told to watch out for heavy fog again, especially around the area where a massive car-pile-up took place on Saturday morning. Drivers have been asked to go slow this morning, and use lights in the fog.

The NCMS also said that visibility would be low in Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain as well, so motorists heading in from those areas to Dubai need to be careful as well.

Saturday's incident occurred at around 7.15am amid dense fog and according to Major-General Mohammad Al Awadi Al Menhali Director-General of Police Operations at the Abu Dhabi Police the police team rushed to the accident site within five minutes following the accident and all those injured were immediately rushed to the hospital. And by 10.45am, all the damaged and more than a dozen burnt vehicles were removed and the highway was cleared for traffic.

A crisis team headed by Colonel Khamis Al Marar immediately rushed into action and some of the injured were airlifted to hospital. Assistance was also received from the armed forces apart from the Dubai Police and the Civil Defence. Public buses were used to transport those stranded and all efforts made to remove the damaged vehicles from the site, said the statement.

Al Awadi expressed regret about the high number of causalities and losses especially after repeated warnings from the police to the motorists to be careful during morning hours, and during dense fog. According to him warning messages have been repeatedly issued by the police in various ways and in several languages to educate the public.  Over speed and failure to follow safe distance between vehicles result in such incidents he warned.

“There was heavy fog in the morning. More than 60 to 70 vehicles were piled up. I was told that police were trying to take out a body of one of the dead from a vehicle. Several others have been injured. Police were trying to clear the vehicles,” said Sayed Jaber one of the eye witness.

Jaber was travelling to Abu Dhabi on the opposite side of the road. “The accident alone covered more than half a kilometre and all the lanes on the opposite side were blocked. The fog was really thick and started off at Ghantoot and became heavier as I neared the accident spot,” he said.

According to him many ambulances were seen taking away many injured passengers to hospital. Meanwhile traffic was being diverted from Sahama.

Three people were killed and more than 300 people were injured in a similar incident on March 11 in 2008. About 25km stretch of the highway was closed following the incident which also occured between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

 

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