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Crash tot found alive in morgue

A toddler pulled from the wreckage of a car crash that killed five family members was sent to a morgue in a body bag in the belief he was dead.

But unconscious one-year-old Mohammed Eisa Danial Hayat began moving as he was being put into storage and was rushed to hospital by stunned officials.

The potentially catastrophic mistake was revealed for the first time yesterday as grieving relatives spoke of the accident, which occurred during a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia last year.

They have also launched a campaign lobbying for better regulation of taxis in Saudi Arabia after the tragic events of last February.

Eisa and his family, from Newport, south Wales, were travelling in a taxi when it hit a bridge and flipped over, killing the driver and all of Eisa's family.

The driver, who is understood to have been going too fast at the time, was uninsured and is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Eisa suffered a dislocated shoulder, broken arm and ribs in the crash, but survived – thanks to his grandfather holding him tightly in his arms.

PREGNANT

His mother Bilques (30), who was pregnant at the time and due to give birth in eight weeks, died in the accident.

Also killed were his father Mohammed (33), grandfather Shaukat (56), grandmother Abida (47) and aunt Saira (29). Officials on the scene in Saudi Arabia were so certain that nobody had survived Eisa was taken to the morgue with his family and the driver.

The toddler, who has since turned two, is now back in south Wales and being looked after by members of his parents' extended family.

"They thought, 'Oh, the little baby was dead. No one could've survived that'. So they took him, zipped him up in the bag and took him to the morgue," Shaukat's brother, Shazada Hayat, said.

He went on to speak of his family's efforts to get the law changed in Saudi Arabia to ensure that only licensed and insured taxi drivers can operate.

Mr Hayat also described the slow process of returning Eisa, who barely ate anything for six weeks after the tragedy, to a normal life.

VACUUM

"Time is the great healer, as they say. It may heal some parts but, obviously, there will always be a vacuum for him. No matter how much anyone tries, you cannot replace the parents," said Mr Hayat.

Two weeks ago, the toddler and other family members travelled back to Saudi Arabia to visit the graves of those who died in the accident.

All five Hayats were buried in the cemetery in Medina where the prophet Muhammed is said to be buried.

"Not everyone gets buried next to the prophet. For a Muslim, you could not get a higher honour than that," said Mr Hayat.

hnews@herald.ie


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