Jul 11, 2010

PINOY ABROAD 5 Pinoys killed in road accident in Saudi

Four members of a Filipino family, including a five-year-old boy, and their Filipino driver died instantly when their car figured in a vehicular accident in Al-Hassa in eastern Saudi Arabia Wednesday night.

Labor Attache David Dicang of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Al-Khobar identified the fatalities as Roberto Demetrio, a building transmission worker, and his wife Elizabeth, a teacher, both of whom were over 60 years old; their daughter Joyce Hassan, a nurse; and a five-year-old grandson Hope.

Also killed was Gener de Java, a friend of the family who was driving the car.

The lone survivor was identified as Pedro IbaƱez, who, along with de Java, accompanied the Demetrio family to the airport for a vacation in the Philippines.

The victims were from Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, Dicang said.

According to Dicang, the family was traveling Wednesday night along a highway in Al-Hassa, a province approximately 400 km away from the capital city of Riyadh, hoping to catch a flight to the Philippines when the accident happened.

The Demetrio family’s car was just among the five cars involved in a mishap caused by a speeding truck, which resulted in a total of at least 15 fatalities.

Reports are still sketchy, Dicang said, and the lone survivor said he was asleep and was unable to witness the accident.

“Philippine Embassy officials are now coordinating with the Filipinos’ employers with respect to their survivors’ entitlement to benefits and other arrangements," Foreign Affairs spokesperson Eduardo Malaya said in a text message.

Dicang said he is not aware if there are other family members in Al-Hassa or in any other part of Saudi Arabia.

Roberto and Elizabeth had been working in Saudi for over five years when the tragedy happened, while daughter Joyce had been working there for only two years.

Her husband is in the Philippines, Dicang added.

“We are working on the case, such as the issuance of police and medical reports and other requirements for the repatriation of their remains, and we will help the family secure entitlements from the victims’ companies," he explained.

The World Health Organization reported in 2009 that Saudi Arabia has the world’s highest number of deaths from road accidents, which make up the country’s principal cause of death particularly among adult males. - RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV

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