Oman accident: Bus driver relives Ibri crash ordeal

Oman Friday 04/March/2016 19:39 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman accident: Bus driver relives Ibri crash ordeal

MUSCAT: Ibri-Fahud single-lane road stretch is risky for driving, said Shauakat Hassan Al Belushi, the Omani driver of the ill-fated bus, which met with an accident on Tuesday.
The bus heading to Dubai from Salalah was involved in an accident with a truck coming from the opposite direction in which 18 people had lost their lives.
“Even a small mistake can lead to a disaster on these roads. Accidents can happen at any time as there are no street lights,” Al Belushi, a Muscat resident and who has been driving heavy vehicles for the last two decades, said.
A day after the accident many drivers plying heavy vehicles on the Salalah-Dubai road had also echoed the same opinion.
Out of the 1,200km Salalah-Dubai road stretch, around 800km is single-lane highway that is poorly lit.
According to the drivers, lack of lights, single-lane, faded road surface markings and wadi (valley) rubble are some of the threats on the Salalah-Dubai road, which pose threat to lives.
Talking about the accident, Al Belushi said even though he had flashed the headlights of bus thrice, the truck driver did not respond.
“Realising the situation, I tried to steer my vehicle to the left side and avoid a head-on collision but the truck rammed into my bus right side, tearing it into pieces,” he said.
Due to the impact of the crash, Al Belushi said he was thrown out of the bus.
“My legs were broken and I was in severe pain. I couldn’t see anything as my face was covered with my blood. I was in a semi-conscious condition. Until help came, I was cursed to hear people crying for help and all I could do was to just wait as my legs were broken. Everywhere, I could smell metal burning,” Al Belushi added.
According to him, help came within an hour.
“I could hear ambulances’ sirens and the sound of helicopters coming. I saw the rescue team pulling out dead people and the injured ones from the bus. After a few minutes, they saw me and I was sent to the PDO health unit in an ambulance,” Al Belushi added.
He was later on shifted to the Nizwa hospital.
“They didn’t know that I am the bus driver. They took my wallet while I was undergoing treatment at the PDO unit. As I was in a critical stage, I couldn’t tell them either that I am the bus driver,” Al Belushi said.
According to him, the car had hit the bus after the truck collided with the bus. “It was dark and dusty too. This might have led the car to ram into our bus,” he added.