DUBAI: A bus traveling through northwestern Oman’s desert crashed into a truck and a passing car later slammed into the wreckage early yesterday morning, killing at least 18 people and injuring 16 others, police said. Authorities received first word of the crash near the Nahdah area on the road connecting the cities of Fahud and Ibri around 1 am, Oman police spokesman Mohammed bin Salama Al-Hashimi said. Fahud and Ibri are cities west of the capital, Muscat.
He said those hurt in the crash had injuries ranging from serious to minor and had been transported to hospitals throughout the sultanate. The crash tipped the truck over, sending its contents – including plastic bags, cardboard boxes and other debris – all over the two-lane road. The roof of the bus was partly torn off. Authorities later brought a crane to lift away the smashed remains of the vehicles.
Omani police later issued a statement saying their initial investigation led them to believe the bus and the truck had a head-on collision, while the car later crashed into the wreckage. Police officers from Muscat arrived at the scene by helicopter, while workers with Petroleum Development Oman also aided rescuers, authorities said. Police said six of the dead were from Oman, four were from Saudi Arabia, two were from Pakistan and one was from Yemen. Five others were still unidentified. Among the injured, 11 were from Oman, two were Saudis, one was Pakistani, one was Chinese and one remained unidentified, the police said.
Traffic crashes are not uncommon in the Gulf states. Many drivers speed on long desert highways and large populations of foreign guest workers are a source of motorists who have come to the country with differing driving habits. In Feb 2013, at least 22 migrant workers died when a gravel-filled truck with faulty brakes rammed into a bus near in Al Ain, an Emirati city on the Omani border. In May the following year, 15 migrant workers died in a bus crash in Dubai. – AP