Muscat: “When I saw the bus coming towards me, I knew I was not long for this world, and it dawned on me that if I did wake up, it would not be on this earth.”
Read also: 2 dead, seven fighting for life after horror crash in Oman
Ali Raza, the driver of the truck that was in collision with a passenger coach last week, is very much alive, contrary to reports, and thankful.
“It was God’s grace that kept me alive through this ordeal, and I honestly wish no one else meets this fate.” The tragic accident, which took place around 7am last Friday near Haima, left two people dead and another 41 injured, seven of them critically.
Read here: Holiday hell for a family of seven on board crash coach
Oman’s Ministry of Health activated a national emergency plan to ferry the injured by air and road to hospitals across four governorates.
Ali, 26, who has been driving lorries across Oman for the last six years, usually hauls cement for Durat-Al-Sahil, a construction firm. “Since it was a Friday, I was only transporting a compressor to the town of Maqshin, which is about 177 kilometres south-west of Duqm,” he said.
“I wanted to leave at night, but our company has always had an employee-first policy so I stayed overnight and prepared to leave the next day.
Ali was travelling with two colleagues. “When the vehicles collided, I must have been flung at least 10 to 12 feet away from the site, and I blacked out for a while,” he added.
“When I came to, I saw that I was bleeding from my right leg, my right hand, and my neck. My phone had been smashed because of the accident.”
But Ali knew there were others who needed his help. The next few hours of his life would be among the most harrowing.
“I made my way back to the accident site, and saw the driver of the bus,” he revealed. “I shook him by the shoulder, but he didn’t respond and I knew that he had left this world.
“Then I went back to my truck and took the head of my colleague Akhtar in my hands,” explained Ali. “He was an electrician who had travelled with me. I tried to gently wake him, but I knew that he too was no more. My other colleague has spinal injuries, but I don’t know how badly he’s injured.”
“Images of the accident had already spread across social media, and I heard the phone of the bus driver ringing, so I answered it. Someone was asking for Usman, and I realised it was his mother on the line,” he said.
“How could I have told them that their son had died? I just told them that he was in an accident and I didn’t know anything else, because I just didn’t have the heart to tell them,” said Ali.
Throwing caution to the winds, Ali then ventured into the smashed remains of the bus.
“There were many people desperately shouting for help from the wreckage of the bus, and despite bleeding profusely, I knew they needed aid, so I went over to see what I could do. There were two small children who were crying for their mother, who had also lost a lot of blood,” he said.
There was nothing I could do to comfort them, but sit down next to them, so I did that, and that was the last thing I remember because I fainted soon afterwards,” added Ali. “I woke up in Haima hospital.”
Ali’s own parents thought he was dead as well. He’d returned to Pakistan to get married just last September.
The 3rd of May marked his six-month wedding anniversary, and his mother, who thought her son had died, was so grief-stricken by the news that she remained bed-ridden for two days.
“I rang them up and had to convince them that I wasn’t dead,” said Ali. “But what I have suffered is nothing compared to what the two families who’ve lost their sons will have to now undergo.”
Ali’s company told him to take all the rest he needs, and have instructed him to return to work only when he feels well enough.
“It’s a good thing that the government is building roads across Oman so that tragedies like this can be avoided in the future,” he said. “It may not seem like it right now, but Oman takes much better care of the people who live here, than the governments back home do.”