Twenty-two labourers were killed and 24 were injured when a truck ploughed into the minibus that was ferrying them to work in Al Ain . Police say that the driver of the truck had not left enough distance between him and the vehicle in front, and when he tried to slow down the truck’s brakes failed and he smashed into the bus.
The workers, employed by Al Hakeem Decorations, were on their way to complete an interior design project on villas when the accident happened.
Sajjad Mammun, a friend of one of the survivors, 22-year-old Rashid Imran, described how the nightmare unfolded.
“Rashid told me that they were on their way to work when a truck came up behind them and smashed into them, crushing the bus,” said Mammun.
“Nobody saw the truck coming,” he added after visiting his friend at Al Ain Hospital. Rashid was one of seven survivors admitted to the hospital, along with 35-year-old Bangladeshi Rahmet Miha, who suffered cuts and was in shock. Among the dead were 21 Bangladeshi men and one Pakistani.
Brigadier Engineer Hussain Ahmad Al Harithi, head of Abu Dhabi Traffic Police, said: “The brakes on the truck failed.” Al Harithi added: “The accident happened when the truck, which was carrying cement, ran off the road and hit the bus because not enough distance had been left between the two vehicles.”
Mustafa Hussein Hakeem, general manager of Hakeem Decorations, told 7DAYS last night that he had gone straight to the hospital when he heard of the accident.
“I don’t know who is alive or who is dead,” he said. “I don’t know the cause or exactly what happened. This is a police matter.”
Hakeem said that his company was sub-contracted to do the interiors of villas for an Italian contractor and the men were on their way to work. “I haven’t yet decided what to do or anything about the details, we are still counting the dead,” Hakeem said.
The crash happened in the Seih Sabra area of Al Ain at around 7.55am.