Muscat: When Harikrishnan TM awoke, the first thing he realised was that the car he was in no longer had its four wheels on the road: it was, in fact, rolling, after the driver and three passengers had all fallen asleep while it was still moving at speed.
On the afternoon of Sunday, 10 January, Harikrishnan and his friends Mohammed Sunoon, Albin Varghese, and Devanshu Dhabalia were returning from Jabal Shams when they met with an accident near Samail.
Mohammed, who was driving the vehicle, and Harikrishnan, in the front passenger seat, were fortunate to escape with injuries. Albin and Devanshu, though, who were sitting in the back, were not so lucky: they were pronounced dead on arrival when the four were taken by well-meaning passers-by to the nearby Samail Hospital.
“We left Jabal Shams early on Sunday morning and all of us began feeling sleepy around one in the afternoon,” recalled Harikrishnan, narrating his experiences of the accident to the Times of Oman. “We had not slept much the night before, so I guessed all of us dozed off when the car will still moving.
“I don’t remember what happened next, but when I woke up, the first thing I realised was that the car was rolling,” he explained. “When it came to a stop, the people who were passing by in the area came to help us, and rescued me from the vehicle. I looked into the back seat of the car and saw that my friends were not there. It was only later I was told they had died.”
The four young men had finished their schooling from Indian School Muscat in 2018, and had been in India doing their undergraduate studies when they decided to return to Oman, after their universities decided to temporarily close because of the pandemic.
All of them had studied in the same class throughout their time in ISM, and were very close. They had decided to go to Jabal Shams to spend some time as friends. Harikrishnan has since been discharged from hospital, and is at home in Muscat.
“When I was in the car, my knee struck the dashboard really hard, so I might have contusions, but that aside, I am fine,” he said. “The doctor in Samail has asked me to go for a checkup in Muscat next week, to make sure everything is okay. I am really lucky to be alive: what happened to my friends could have easily happened to me as well.
“We were very lucky that the car actually stopped near Samail Hospital, I wonder what would have happened if we had stopped in the middle of the road, or somewhere more dangerous,” he added.
“The first thing I did when I was out of the car was to ask one of the people there to call my father. He works in Misfah, so he was able to come and see me quickly.”
Harikrishnan’s mother Lekha Nair soon came to her son’s side, and in the hopes that others would be spared the fate of these two boys, asked them not to travel when not well rested.
“We are very lucky that Hari survived. If he had been in the back seat, or not worn his seatbelt, I don’t want to imagine what would’ve happened.”
“We have been in touch with the parents of the children who passed away, and they are understandably very distraught and saddened by what has happened,” added Nair.