RAK road dubbed 'Death Row' claims life of man aged 76 as car hits mountain

An Emirati man has died and his brother has been severely injured in the most recent crash on the Dibba-Masafi road, known locally as "Death Row".

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RAS AL KHAIMAH // An Emirati man has died and his brother has been severely injured in the most recent crash on the Dibba-Masafi road, known locally as "Death Row" due to the high number of accidents that take place on it. RAK police said the victims' vehicle swerved into the road's left lane on Tuesday night and crashed into the mountainside. The unidentified man, 76, was killed instantly, and his brother, 64, was rushed to hospital. Police have begun an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

The snaking, single-carriage lane runs through the Fujairah mountains to the town of Masafi in Ras al Khaimah. The Dubai Department of Public Works has identified six black spots on the road, most of them along a flat stretch where drivers often attempt to pass before re-entering the mountain bends. "Roads in the mountains are not as clear as straight roads. The heights prevent the driver from seeing the oncoming vehicles," said Capt Salem Bu Rugaiba, the deputy chief of the traffic section at the Digdaga police station. He also warned drivers about the dangers of driving in the mountains at night.

From January 1 to April 15 this year, the Digdaga traffic branch, which serves the southern part of RAK, has reported 764 traffic accidents and eight deaths, more than a quarter of all road deaths in the emirate during that period. Work on what is believed could be a solution to the problems on the Dibba-Masafi road has been ongoing for several months. Part of the road will be expanded into a dual carriageway by the middle of next year, said the Dubai public works department, which handles road projects in the northern emirates.

The expansion of 14.5km of the original road, which began last November, is now 20 per cent complete, said a department engineer who asked not to be named. Better lights, wider lanes and shoulders will be added to the road. "For the meantime, in these areas as a temporary solution we are placing rumble strips and flashing lights so the accidents will be minimised," the engineer added. Local residents say the new road system cannot come soon enough. Pupils from surrounding villages commute regularly on the Dibba-Masafi road, causing concern to parents and school officials alike.

"I wanted this 10 years ago," said Hessa Ahmed, the principal of the Al Hala Primary school. "Every day they take that road, so it's a very big problem. In one year two of my teachers have had accidents." The layout of the road is not the only cause of accidents there. Captain Bu Rugaiba said livestock was to blame for many accidents. Police did not say if animals were involved in yesterday's accident. An Emirati man, 41, died on the same road earlier this week when his car hit a camel.