Dubai bus crash: driver was travelling at more than twice the speed limit

Omani faces three charges including causing the wrongful death of 17 people in a crash during Eid Al Fitr

The Oman-registered bus was travelling along Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road, carrying 31 passengers, when it crashed into a signboard at Al Rashidiya exit.
The Oman-registered bus was travelling along Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road, carrying 31 passengers, when it crashed into a signboard at Al Rashidiya exit.

The driver of a bus that crashed into an overhead height restriction barrier, killing more than half of the passengers on board, has been charged with causing the death of 17 people, injuries to 13 others and damages.

Police said the Omani driver of a Mwasalat tourist bus, which operates twice daily between Muscat and Dubai, was driving at 94 kilometres per hour – more than double the 40kph limit on that road – and did not pay attention to traffic signs when he drove on to a lane with a height constraint.

The maximum-height sign in Dubai that was struck by the bus. Seventeen passengers died in June 2019 in the tragedy. The National 
The maximum-height sign in Dubai that was struck by the bus. Seventeen passengers died in June 2019 in the tragedy. The National 

On Wednesday, Salah Al Felasi, director of traffic prosecution, said the driver, 53, was arrested and referred to Dubai’s Traffic Court to face the three charges.

If convicted, the driver faces up to seven years in prison and a fine. Mr Felasi said the accused may also have to pay Dh3.4 million in blood money to the families of the passengers who died.

The bus was travelling on Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road, carrying 30 passengers, when it crashed into a barrier at Al Rashidiya exit at 5.40pm on Thursday, June 6.

The passengers included a mix of Asian and European residents and tourists, including Irish, Pakistani, Indian, German and Philippines nationals. They were returning from Eid Al Fitr holidays in the Omani capital. Fifteen passengers died on impact while the 13 hurt, with varying degrees of injuries, were taken to Rashid Hospital. Two more died in hospital the same day.

Police said the driver failed to see several warning signs, a road bump and a height restriction chain installed to alert drivers that their vehicle exceeds the permitted height.

After seeing the maximum-height barrier over the road, the driver swerved to avoid crashing into it, causing the barrier to cut through the roof of the left side of the bus - killing most of the passengers seated on that side. The bus ground to a halt 44m away from the overhanging barrier.

During questioning, the driver, who sustained minor injuries, admitted to making a mistake and said he did not see the warning signs because he had installed a small curtain on his windshield to protect his eyes from the Sun.

He said he had only taken that exit one time before and was unfamiliar with it, the investigation revealed.

Updated: June 26, 2019 06:02 PM

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