(MENAFN - Khaleej Times)Eight Emiratis and at least one other person died in an horrific freak accident in northern Oman on Thursday night when an electrical transformer fell from a truck into the path of oncoming cars, witnesses and police have said.
The Abu Dhabi Police said the truck was driving in the direction of Sohar, along Al Buraimi Road, when it hit a barricade to the right of the road, which caused it to swerve into the steel barrier dividing the two streams of traffic. The impact of this crash caused the transformer on the truck to come adrift, into the path of two 4-wheel drives and one other car, which carried the victims, Colonel Hamad Nasser Al Blooshi said.
Eight other Emiratis were also injured, in addition to the nine dead, he said.
The UAE Police report contrasts with reports from other sources, including Wadi Jezzi police, who told Khaleej Times the accident involved three cars, and killed 10 people and injured eight others. "It claimed 10 lives, with eight people sustaining medium to severe injuries and rushed to nearby hospitals," an official said.
Medical officials at Buraimi Hospital also said the death toll was 10, but they could not identify the 10th casualty. Sources also suggest two of the injured died in Sohar hospital. One of the vehicles was Abu Dhabi-registered and one Omani. It is understood the truck carried a Saudi Arabian number plate.
Reports from Oman suggest the accident happened between 8pm and 9pm.
Meanwhile, a witness to the incident said he saw the truck do a "speedy right turn" along the road. "A big transformer rolled out from (the truck's) rear. Four cars piled up a few seconds later after hitting the transformer," said Sohar resident Nasser Mubarak.
He said the accident took place in the Suhaylah area in the wilayat of Sohar.
The deceased from the UAE belonged to the same family and have been identified as Said Al Durei, Hajer Al Durei, Naeema Al Durei, Hamood Al Durei, Humaid Al Durei, Swaylama Al Durei, Aminah Al Durei and Haeeb Al Durei. Khaleej Times understands they hail from Al Ain and Abu Dhabi.
Civil Defence, ambulances and emergency services from Buraimi and Batinah immediately rushed to the spot and rescued the injured persons who were trapped in the vehicles.
The injured, two of who have severe conditions, were then rushed to Sohar and Buraimi hospitals for treatment, according to the Royal Omani Police.
This accident has raised many questions about the safety standards of trucks, which have been increasingly causing fatal accidents.
Observers say the law is not implemented strictly enough by either drivers or authorities. There have been complaints that many heavy duty trucks and even smaller transport vehicles can be seen lumbering along main roads during peak hours, causing traffic snarls and - increasingly - fatal accidents.
Oman continues to struggle to control high incidents of road accidents. There were 4,177 road accidents in the country in the first six months of 2,012 - up 14.7 per cent on a year earlier - and 539 deaths, up 20.3 per cent.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are 21.3 road traffic deaths per 100,000 population each year in Oman. That is well below the UAE rate of 37.1, but well above Kuwait's 16.9 and Bahrain's 12.1.
According to ROP statistics, 7,719 accidents resulted in the death of 1,056 people and 11,342 others were injured last year. This year's toll to October stands at 6,000 accidents, responsible for the deaths of 830, with 8,320 injuries.
This latest fatality represents the highest road toll involving Emiratis in Oman this year. In August, Col Saif Abdullah Al Haj Al Kaabi, an Emirati from Al Ain, died with six of his children after their car hit a lorry and rolled.