Seventeen people died and three others were severely hurt in a bus crash in Dubai on Thursday.
The Oman-registered bus — a Mwasalat vehicle transporting people between Dubai and Muscat — was travelling along Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road, carrying 31 passengers, when it crashed into a signboard at Al Rashidiya exit at 5.40pm. It is unclear what caused the driver to crash into the traffic sign, which displayed the maximum height of vehicles allowed to pass beneath it.
In an image released by Dubai Police, the roof of the left side of the bus appeared to have been severely damaged while the right side remained mostly still in tact.
Police initially said 15 passengers were killed on impact while five others, including the Omani bus driver, in his fifties, were taken to Rashid Hospital to be treated for injuries ranging from "moderate" to "severe".
An hour later, police said two more passengers, including a woman, died in hospital, increasing the death toll to 17.
Police said an investigation into the cause of the "unfortunate incident" is under way and thanked the "competent authorities involved" for their co-operation.
The Oman government-owned bus company issued a statement on Twitter, offering condolences to the families of those who died and announcing the suspension of their daily E05 services between Muscat and Dubai until further notice. It said the decision to suspend the service, which ran three times a day, was taken in co-ordination with Dubai's Road and Transport Authority.
The company said it was working with Dubai authorities to investigate the incident.
"[The] Mwasalat family expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured," the statement said.
"Mwasalat has paid great attention to the incident immediately on receipt of the news and has been in direct contact with the competent authorities in Dubai to look into the incident."
Dubai Police Chief Maj Gen Abdullah Al Marri said the crash was a "tragic incident that led to the death of innocent people."
Though the cause of the accident has not yet been made known, he called on motorists to always be vigilant while driving.
"Sometimes a simple error or negligence during driving leads to serious consequences, as happened this evening, and resulted in the deaths of 17 people of different nationalities," he said.