Manama: Bahrain is mourning the death of a five-year-old boy who was left on a school bus for up to six hours with outside temperatures soaring above 30 degrees Celcius.
Rashid Fadhel Buzuhair was heading to school with his twin brother Abdullah on Thursday morning when he fell asleep on the bus. None of the students, bus driver and supervisor reportedly noticed that he was left behind the bus as they disembarked. His twin, Abdullah, reportedly mentioned that Rashid was sleeping but that no one asked further questions.
Rashid's body was discovered at around noon as the driver was preparing to take students home. Rashid was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
He was buried in his village of Dar Kulaib, in the southern part of the country, as Bahrainis took to the internet to express their anger at the incident.
The Ministry of Interior has launched an investigation into the incident. The school owner, the bus driver and the supervisor were questioned by the public prosecution and charged with causing the tragic death of the student through negligence.
“The boy was found dead inside the locked bus as the driver and supervisor failed to ensure all students left on arrival at school,” said Northern Governorate Chief Prosecutor Hussain Al Bu Ali.
“The investigation revealed that the supervisor was in fact a cleaner who was appointed by the school principal to accompany the students. The driver involved in the tragic incident had been asked by the regular school driver to replace him temporarily even though he did not have a driving licence,” Bu Ali said.
The Public Prosecution asked the General Directorate of Traffic to check whether the bus was legally licensed to transport school students.
“A specialized technician has been commissioned to check the bus and assess whether it had the necessary safety requirements to transport students,” Al Bu Ali said. “The Public Prosecution has also ordered a forensic team to check the bus and assess aeration in relation with external temperature at the time of the incident. The investigation will include hearing testimonies from witnesses to determine criminal responsibilities in the aftermath of the tragic incident.”
The education ministry said it had suspended classes at the school, from kindergarten up to high school. Ministry officials said the move was to ensure there were no more tragedies and that safety requirements are fulfilled.