A police investigation has been launched after a group of schoolchildren and staff from Al Batinah International School (ABIS) were injured in an accident at Sohar Port and Freezone shortly before the Eid Al Adha holiday.
“Emergency services responded to an incident on one of the terminals in the port on Thursday morning, 30 September, 2014,” a port spokesman told Y Magazine.
The pupils and staff, who were on a field trip to the port, were watching a high-powered water display by two tugboats from one of the terminals when the accident happened, the spokesman said.
“The incident happened during a visit by a group of schoolchildren and accompanying staff members from Al Batinah International School, who were watching a water display by fire monitor on two of the tugboats that operate in the port.
“The unexpected turning of one of the tugboats caused the water jet from a high-pressure nozzle to reach the quayside and hit the bus and the group of onlookers, causing personal injuries and damage to vehicles.”
Sohar Port and Freezone is managed by Sohar Port and Industrial Company, a 50:50 joint venture between Oman and the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The deep-sea port, 200km north of Muscat and headed by Dutch CEO Andre Toet, was opened in 2002 and became a free zone in 2010.
The school has declined to comment on the accident.
According to its website, ABIS was set up in 2008 by Sohar Aluminium to meet a rising demand for international education for expatriate students in the Al Batinah region of Oman.
The port spokesman said 24 people were injured in the accident, including students and staff from the school, and were taken to hospital, where most were treated for minor injuries and discharged on the same day.
However, one adult, believed to be a parent of one of the children, was seriously injured.
“One adult was treated for more serious injuries and remains in hospital, but [is] in a stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.”
Royal Oman Police and Sohar Port and Freezone have both launched investigations into the ABIS accident, the port spokesman said.
In December 2010, the Times of Oman reported that five workers were killed and another two seriously injured when the boom of a tower crane collapsed in windy weather at the L&T Modular Fabrication Yard in Sohar Port.