Singaporean pilgrim dies in Mecca bus accident

Haji Mohammad Abu Bakar Osman, who died in the Mecca bus crash (above), was director of the travel agency behind the trip.
Haji Mohammad Abu Bakar Osman, who died in the Mecca bus crash (above), was director of the travel agency behind the trip. PHOTOS: BERITA HARIAN READER, ABU BAKAR TRAVEL SERVICES/FACEBOOK
Haji Mohammad Abu Bakar Osman (above), who died in the Mecca bus crash, was director of the travel agency behind the trip.
Haji Mohammad Abu Bakar Osman (above), who died in the Mecca bus crash, was director of the travel agency behind the trip. PHOTOS: BERITA HARIAN READER, ABU BAKAR TRAVEL SERVICES/FACEBOOK

His wife among several Singaporean passengers on umrah injured

One Singaporean was killed and several other Singaporeans were injured in a bus accident in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, while carrying out their minor pilgrimage (umrah).

According to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), the bus carrying 31 passengers met with an accident in the early hours of yesterday (between 1pm and 1.30pm, Singapore time).

Haji Mohammad Abu Bakar Osman, the 64-year-old director of Abu Bakar Travel Services - the family-run travel agency behind the trip - was killed in the crash. His wife, Hajah Fauziah Alias, 63, was warded in the intensive care unit of the King Faisal Hospital with two others.

Their son, Mr Salhan Abu Bakar, said his mother injured her neck and her leg might be broken, but she is conscious.

He said: "It is very hard to get into the area, so we don't know how long it is going to take us to get a visa and fly in."

His sister, Ms Siti, later said the family expects to fly out today.

She added that the pilgrims included Singaporeans and Malaysians, who had arrived in Mecca on March 12 on a Scoot flight. They were to return to Singapore on March 25.

Muis said the injured have been sent to hospitals in Mecca, and added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping those affected.

Muis expressed its deepest sympathies to all the pilgrims affected, and said the Singapore Consul-General in Jeddah has visited the injured at the King Faisal Hospital, and the Singapore Consulate-General there will continue to provide the necessary support to the injured and their families, as well as to the next of kin of the deceased.

A spokesman for the Association of Muslim Travel Agents said 17 of the passengers had been discharged, while 10 others were warded in another hospital.

In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed his deepest sympathies to those involved in the accident.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said that he was deeply saddened to hear of the bus accident. "My thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this unfortunate incident," he wrote in a Facebook post.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2018, with the headline 'Singaporean pilgrim dies in Mecca bus accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe