11 Bangladeshis were traveling in the bus; no confirmation till DNA reports come
At least seven Bangladeshi nationals were killed when a bus carrying pilgrims collided with another vehicle near the Muslim holy city of Medina on Wednesday.
Shortly after the accident, the bus carrying the pilgrims, traveling from Medina to Mecca, caught fire killing at least 35 people.
Bangladesh Ambassador in Saudi Arabia Golam Moshi, confirmed to Dhaka Tribune around 2am on Saturday that seven of the victims were Bangladeshis.
The details of the victims were yet to be known, he added.
A source at Consulate General of Bangladesh in Jeddah told Dhaka Tribune that they found the name of 13 Bangladeshis, who were in the passenger list. The bus was traveling from Riyadh to Mecca via Medina.
He also said that two of the Bangladeshi passengers got down from the bus in Medina.
“We cannot come up with a cent percent confirmation whether all of them died, because how many Bangladeshi passengers were in the bus when the accident took place is yet to be ascertained,” said the official.
All the Bangladeshi nationals were workers there, but the embassy failed to get details of their identity as the passenger list only contains name and nationality of the passengers, not the passport number, nor the Iqama number, said the official, wishing not to be named.
Forensic experts have already collected the DNA samples for tests, and is now waiting for the relatives to contact them to ascertain the identities, he added.
He further said that the bodies have become very charred, as such it will be impossible for them to send the bodies back to Bangladesh.
When asked, Dr Md Nazrul Islam, deputy chief of mission at Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh, told this correspondent that the bodies are completely charred, and nothing can be said for sure until the DNA reports of every victim is ready.
After getting the DNA reports, the authorities will contact with the victims' relatives, he added.
The Wednesday evening's accident involved a collision between "a privately chartered bus with a heavy vehicle" near the western city, reports the official Saudi Press Agency citing a spokesman of Medina police.
Those involved were Arab and Asian pilgrims, according to local media, which carried pictures of the bus engulfed in flames, and with its windows blown out, reports AFP.
The Okaz newspaper said that the victims were expatriates who lived in the kingdom, and who were performing the umrah – the lesser pilgrimage to the Muslim holy places, which can be undertaken year round.