//Eight Malayalees among 28 killed in Jeddah bus accident

Eight Malayalees among 28 killed in Jeddah bus accident

Dubai/New Delhi: Eight Indians were among 28 people killed when the bus they were travelling in fell into a ditch near Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, the Indian government said Saturday.

"Eight were Indians out of the 28 killed in the accident. We have identified most of the victims and efforts are on to inform the families of victims about them," Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed told IANS on phone from Kannur in Kerala.

A majority of the Indians killed belonged to Kerala, he added.

Sixteen of the 41 passengers in the bus were Indians, 13 were Pakistanis and nine were Bangladeshis, said the Indian consulate in Jeddah. The nationality of three people is unknown.

The injured Indians have been admitted to the King Fahd Hospital, it said.

The passengers, all local residents, were travelling to Madinah to offer Friday prayers when the bus plunged into the ditch at Rabeli on the Jeddah­Madinah highway late Thursday at around 2300 hrs (Jeddah time).

The passengers had reportedly made arrangements with an unrecognised travel agent for the trip.

The bodies have been taken to the King Abdulaziz Hospital & Oncology Center, Jeddah.

The Indian consulate in Jeddah made arrangements to send a team of officials led by D.B. Bhati, vice consul (community welfare), to the hospital to identify the deceased and provide assistance to the next of kin.

The welfare section of the Indian consulate was kept open to issue No Objection Certificates for Local Burial to facilitate speedy burial of the deceased, the consulate said.

A separate team of welfare officials visited the King Fahd Hospital to meet the injured people. The consul general visited King Abdulaziz Hospital & Oncology Center later in the evening to meet relatives of the dead and participate in funeral prayers.