An Omani bus carrying 31 travellers on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road has collided with a height restriction barrier killing 17.
#هام | في تمام الساعة 5:40 من مساء اليوم، وقع #حادث مروري بليغ لباص مواصلات على متنه 31 راكب يحمل لوحة أرقام سلطنة عمان على شارع الشيخ محمد بن زايد وتحديدا (مخرج الراشدية) الى محطة المترو نتج عنه وفاة 15 راكب من جنسيات مختلفة وإصابة 5 أشخاص آخرون بإصابات بليغة. pic.twitter.com/ma5FRPW9OX— Dubai Policeشرطة دبي (@DubaiPoliceHQ) June 6, 2019
Dubai Police’s first tweet indicate the incident happened at 5:40pm on Thursday, at he Sheikh Zayed Road, Rashidiyah Exit, where an Omani bus carrying 31 travellers was involved in a fatal accident.
The second tweet state that the bus collided into a “guidance board”, with no further details.
In the last two tweets, Dubai’s Chief of Police, Major General Abdullah Al Marri, has called this a “tragic accident that took many innocent lives”, and then cautioned drivers to be more attentive on the road adding that “sometimes a small mistake or negligence by the driver leads to grave consequences.
The general direction of the Dubai Police on this matter seems to be blaming the driver for negligence which resulted in the death of 17 drivers.
However, outside the vague local media and police reports comes another prespective which thousands of Omani social media users have rallied to bring attention to.
The Omani driver, in his 50s, who is still in medical care, indeed made a mistake by taking a no-bus exit, for unknown reasons.
However, the actual collision was due to a solid 2.2m height restriction barrier, not the guidance board.
Omani social media users argue that although the driver made a mistake of taking the wrong exit, he didn’t have enough distance to stop, and that the placement of such a heavy solid barrier was incorrect and generally overkill.
Emirati social media users are defending the placement of the barrier, and that the bus had to be “stopped at any cost”. The reason being that the road leads to a bridge into a Dubai Metro Station parking with hundreds of commuters.
With the recent regional GCC instability and dispute between UAE and Qatar, it is a common phenomena to see all sorts of incidents and events being politicized by both GCC governments and citizens. It’s common for incidents to be polished up by local media to avoid critisism from rival countries.