Bus driver jailed for crash that killed 17 people in Dubai is released on bail

Oman's embassy said Saeed Al Baloushi was let out on appeal and will meet with defence lawyers

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A bus driver jailed over a crash that killed 17 passengers in Dubai has been released on bail, the Oman embassy said on Thursday.

Saeed Al Baloushi, 53, was let out following a ruling by Dubai Court of Appeal, the diplomatic mission said.

The Omani national admitted driving the vehicle that ploughed into a traffic barrier on June 6.

But his lawyers blamed Dubai's traffic authorities for placing the solid metal barrier in that location at a height of just 2.2 metres.

Al Baloushi, whose name was released by the embassy, was jailed for seven years and ordered to pay Dh3.4 million compensation.

"The Oman Embassy in Abu Dhabi is pleased to announce that Dubai Court of Appeal has agreed in a hearing today to bail Saeed Al Baloushi, the Omani bus driver for Oman Transport Agency, until a date is scheduled for the hearing of defence lawyers," the embassy said in a tweet.

"The embassy appreciates the court’s decision."

The crash happened at the Rashidiya exit just off Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road in Dubai at about 5.40pm on June 6.

It was carrying 30 passengers returning to the Emirates from Muscat, Oman’s capital, following the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

Twelve Indians, two Pakistanis, an Irish woman, an Omani and a Filipina were killed.

Speaking on July 9, defence lawyer Mohammed Saif Al Tamimi said the authorities should have built a barrier that would give way in a collision.

“According to international and GCC standards, such barriers should not be made of solid steel to avoid [this type of] catastrophe," he told a judge.

Fifteen of the passengers are understood to have been killed on impact while two more died in hospital the same day.