At least 16 Bangladeshis were among the 22 Asian workers killed in a deadly road accident at Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates on Monday.
The fatal accident occurred when a bus transporting workers collided with a lorry carrying construction materials in the Zakhir district of the oasis city of al-Ain, also injuring 24 others.
Latiful Haque, a labour councilor at Bangladesh mission in the UAE, said they had identified 16 of the dead as Bangladeshi nationals.
M Shameem Ahsan, director general (External Publicity) and (Europe & EU) of the ministry of foreign affairs, also confirmed the death of 16 Bangladeshis.
Officials said an Indian was also among the casualties while the identity of five others could not be confirmed yet.
The per-capita death toll on UAE roads is among the highest in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.
Millions of foreign workers, mostly from South Asia, live in the UAE for better earnings.
Brigadier Hussain Ahmad Al Harithi, director of Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrol Directorate, said the truck carrying sand and other construction material veered off the road and collided with the bus carrying cleaning workers at 7:45am (local time).
Witnesses said most workers died after suffocating in the pile of sand and construction material, but this could not be independently verified.
There was no confirmation on the fate of the bus and the truck drivers.
The bodies of the workers have been transferred to Al Ain Hospital’s morgue, while the injured have been transferred to Al Ain, Al Tawam, Al Noor and NMC hospitals for treatment.
The bus was carrying a total of 46 people who are cleaners of different companies.
A worker who lives in accommodation near the site of the accident told Gulf News that the police blocked the highway at 8:00am and
dozens of fire-trucks, ambulances and police patrols were seen rushing towards Al Rawdah palace.
Another witness told Khaleej Times, ‘I was driving to from our camp when I saw a concrete-laden truck crash into a bus coming from the opposite direction. The bus was smashed beyond recognition. I don’t think any of the workers in the bus could have survived this accident.’
Meanwhile, the president, Zillur Rahman, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and the opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, expressed deep shock at the death of the 16 Bangladeshis.
Source: New Age