Three brothers who were among the 18 people who lost their lives in the fatal Ibri bus accident last week have been laid to rest in Dhofar.
The bus was travelling from Salalah to Dubai when it crashed on the stretch of road between Fahud and Ibri in a collision that also involved a truck and a saloon car.
More than a week after the accident, 13 bodies of the 18 deceased have been identified, although five still remain unknown. Sixteen people were also injured.
Amazingly, considering the extent of the devastation caused to the bus, the vehicle’s driver, Shawkat al Balushi, survived, albeit with extensive injuries and several broken bones. He has since said that after 20 years in his occupation, he will not get behind the wheel of a bus again.
“I feel sorry and sad for the 18 people who died in the accident. I am sorry for what happened, though it was not my mistake. I tried my best to save my passengers, but could not,” he told a local newspaper.
The exact cause of last week’s crash is as yet unknown, with an investigation into the events that led to the accident ongoing.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Majlis Al Shura held a meeting with the Ministry of Transport and Communications to discuss ways in which the stretch of road can be made safer. Some measures could include better maintenance, the introduction of a lighting system and the allocation of a wider area for road shoulders.
Ali al Mashani, a member of the Majlis Al Shura, said that the implementation of such improvements would “definitely help save more lives” going forward.
“We have discussed in particular this issue with the Minister of Transport and Communications and he has welcomed our suggestions. A team has been formed to study the road and come out with a report,” Al Mashani was quoted as saying.
He cited the current financial crisis in Oman and the region as the reason an entirely new road could not be built, forcing them to focus on “quick solutions” instead.
It has also been announced that the Ministry of Transport and Communications will be coordinating with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to expand mobile coverage, as well as organising bus transportation with the help of the Royal Oman Police to impose guidelines and regulations for vehicles and drivers.