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Tue 11 Mar 2008 11:27 AM

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Horror car pile-up kills 3, injures 347

WRAP-UP: Death and injury toll after UAE's worst traffic acccident.

At least three people have now died and 347 been injured after a devastating car pile up involving over 60 cars on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway on Tuesday morning, state news agency Wam said.

Abu Dhabi Police confirmed to ArabianBusiness.com on Wednesday afternoon that three people had been killed in the crash, and six remained in critical condition replacing an earlier WAM report stating a dozen people had died.

Police said 12 buses carrying some 300 workers in total were involved in the crash, which took place at 6.00 am (0200 GMT) on on the Dubai-bound side of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Road.

Ninety-two cars caught fire in the smash-ups, Khalifa Al Darrai, chief executive of the Ambulance Service Centre in Dubai, told UAE weekly Xpress in an early report.

"Patients were lying on the road. Thankfully, they had abandoned their cars or else the death toll would have risen significantly," Al Darrai said.

Police said among the 347 injured, six people were critical, while 39 suffered medium injuries, UAE daily Gulf News reported.

UAE Interior Minister Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan deeply regretted the traffic accidents, which he blamed on resulting bad weather and motorists' recklessness, leading to series of unprecedented collisions, Wam reported.

"Motorists should be careful when driving," said Sheikh Saif. "Delay in reaching a destination will be always better than a hurry that ends up in a tragic accident, which a driver or others suffer most."

Eyewitnesses at the scene said it was "mayhem".

"There is a car which is completely charred, that is all I can tell - I cannot tell the brand, or if it's one car or two. All I can is that it was once white, " said Rami Dia, a 31-year-old business development manager, speaking to ArabianBusiness.com from the scene.

"It's mayhem... I live in Egypt, which is the most dangerous place to drive in the world. This is the worst accident I've ever seen."

The accident scene, located approximately 60 kilometers outside the capital, is nearby the Al Ghantoot area.

Over 1,050 people were killed in UAE road accidents last year, compared to 868 deaths in 2006.

Recent figures released by the Ministry of Interior show that there were 6,813 accidents on UAE roads during 2007, resulting in 10,526 injuries.

According to government statistics, one person is injured on the UAE roads every two hours, with one fatality every fifteen hours.

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NIMBY 12 years ago

Putting an advert for a car in the middle of this story smacks of insensitivity wouldn't you say? Editors Reply: Many thanks for your comment. All car adverts have been removed from this story.

Abbass 12 years ago

I hope they realize that tinting the front and back glass is the major cause of this huge accident.

David 12 years ago

Glass tinting is only an aspect of this horrific accident, the truth is the disgusting standard of driving displayed on the roads in the U.A.E., predominantly excercised by labour buses, trucks, mini-buses and and pick-ups. Those and the 'must get to the front' mentality are THE major cause of crashes in the U.A.E.

Rainigade 12 years ago

Did you know that the DJs on Hindi/Urdu speaking radio channels actually advise their listeners to put on their hazard lights in bad weather? I found this out when Dubai experienced all that rain just recently and visibility was poor and traffic was horrific. The RTA/Dubai Police should fine radio stations for giving advice that is dangerous and against the law!

Enough already 12 years ago

The main causes of accidents overall, and this one specifically, are excessive speed, limited distance between cars and predatory driving. The lack of common sense and respect for others is absolutely staggering and lethal as well, it seems. This morning, in spite of the very sad news, cretins are still plying our roads putting us all in danger. That, in itself, is a reason to leave the UAE. They call this a safe place?

Lee 12 years ago

The information is different depending on the source....CNN... Arabian Business website... all have different numbers. Even in this article you are quoting other media sources. Can you not go to the official source and get the official numbers in black and white? Editors reply One area of improvement that needs to be looked into following this tragedy is how information is given to the press. There was very little official communication yesterday, hence media outlets had to use their own sources within the police with different information given out at different times as a result. Bear in mind too that the situation changed constantly through yesterday, and to a lesser extent has done so again today. When you look at stories, look at the time they were published. That should give you some indication as to whose figures are most accurate. ArabianBusiness.com published multiple updates during the day to keep our information as up to date as it could be. We also quoted other media outlets where and when they had secured valuable information.

Rawad 12 years ago

I think it would have made more sense had a hyphen been added to "pile up" in order to form the intended noun "pileup" or "pile-up". Moreover, since you follow the English Dictionary, as opposed to American Dictionary, "kilometer" should have been spelled "kilometre" instead. As regards punctuation usage, I know not to what extent do you prioritize the issue, so better overlook it - I guess.

Skand Bhargava 12 years ago

I think if police cars are stationed just before the area where fog starts and strategically within the fog area, there would be a salutory effect. This will force careful driving. Perhaps the police officials will have to be out of bed a little early, but then this is what they bargained for when they made their career choice. Skand Bhargava

Robert Aytoun 12 years ago

The Police are not doing enough to prevent accidents like this. I've actually seen Police vehicles driving without lights on in bad weather conditions and also seen them ignore vehicles that don't maintain safe following distances!!!!!!! Are they not suppose to set examples!!!!!!

Patience 12 years ago

I agree completely with Messrs David and Abbass. PLEASE PLEASE get rid of the black windows. How many more lives need to be lost before it will be done?