DUBAI // The driver of the bus that crashed into a lorry on Emirates Road at the weekend is being questioned by police.
Thirteen labourers were killed after the bus, which can carry a maximum of 30 people, ploughed into the back of a stationary lorry on Saturday morning.
Four workers from Bangladesh remain in hospital but are said to be in a stable condition. Nine of the dead were from India and four from Bangladesh. Both consulates said they expected to repatriate the bodies at the weekend once post-mortem examinations had been completed.
They all worked as technicians, welders and fabricators and were coming from their accommodation in Umm Al Quwain to Jebel Ali on Emirates Road when the accident occurred.
The Indian owner of the labour-supply group, which is a consortium of five companies, is also being questioned.
“The owner is in police custody,” a representative of the company said on Sunday. “We believe the driver may have fallen asleep behind the wheel,” he said. “He has been working with us only for a month. He has been driving for a long time though.”
He added that 28 workers were on the bus at the time of the accident.
The nine Indians have been named, they are: Devendra Kumar Yadav; Kamlesh Kumar Singh; Shatrughan Kumar Singh; Kokil Choudhary; Krishan Shah; Dharmendra Singh; Vijay Gupta; Siraj Ansari; and Sanjay Ramchand.
The four Bangladeshi dead are: Masoom Dhali, 24; Mohammed Badrul Hasan, 35; Alamgeer, 32; and Nazrul Islam, 28.
The Indian consulate said it was in talks with the company for compensation for the relatives of the workers who died.
Meanwhile, a Dubai Traffic Police spokesman said the Pakistani driver of the bus had been speeding.
He was taken to hospital with minor injuries but had been released.
“Anybody whose actions lead to the death of even one person, will be taken in for questioning,” the spokesman said.
Salah Bu Farosha Al Falasi, head of the Dubai Traffic Prosecution, confirmed 13 people were killed in the crash. Earlier reports had put the death toll at 15.
Dubai Health Authority confirmed on Sunday that 10 people were taken to the Rashid Hospital trauma centre with moderate to severe injuries after the accident.
Of these, six were discharged on the same day. The remaining four are stable and undergoing treatment at the hospital.
“Two of them have chest injuries, one of them has been operated [on] for a fractured arm and the fourth patient is being treated for spinal vertebrae injuries,” it said.
Several others were taken to Al Baraha Hospital on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Mr Al Falasi said police were conducting a wide-ranging investigation. “We are following up on the issue very closely and we will be talking to eyewitnesses as well,” Mr Al Falasi said.
“Once we receive investigation reports inquiring into the speed of the bus and whether there were mechanical errors, and after talking to witnesses, the proper legal procedures will take place.”
The driver of the lorry was also detained for questioning.
He had told police he had stopped on the hard shoulder because he suspected something was wrong with his vehicle’s brakes.
It is thought the bus in which the labourers were travelling had been straddling the right hard shoulder and the nearside lane of the motorway, travelling towards Abu Dhabi.
It hit the lorry, which was stopped on the hard shoulder, and skidded for eight metres before flipping over. It then slid five more metres before coming to a stop.