Two Bruneian Umrah pilgrims died in a road accident Saturday night while on their way to Medina in Saudi Arabia, while three others are in the ICU, one of them in a critical condition.
Confirming the tragic news, Brunei's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Pengiran Dato Paduka Hj Jabaruddin, in a telephone interview with the Bulletin, said, "A family of seven Bruneian pilgrims were headed to Medina in a mini bus they had hired themselves when the accident happened about 100 kilometres away from the holy city."
A source from the local travel agency, whose package the family had taken and embarked on the pilgrimage last Saturday from Brunei, said the driver (a foreign national) of the mini bus apparently suffered a heart attack. The mini bus lost control and rammed into a trailer travelling in front of the bus.
The driver of the mini bus also died in the accident.
Brunei's ambassador in Saudi Arabia said, "A middle-aged woman and a teenage girl died in the accident, the wife and granddaughter of a Brunei imam.
"The imam is in the ICU and so are two others from the family. One of them has sustained injures to the spine and the other to the chest," the ambassador said.
The ambassador and others from Brunei's Embassy in Saudi Arabia have left for Medina to render assistance to the surviving family members.
According to the source from the local travel agency, family members of the deceased in Brunei and officials from the travel agency are scheduled to leave for Saudi Arabia soon.
This is the first time in recent memory that Brunei pilgrims have died in a road accident in Saudi Arabia.
Bruneians who go to the holy land to perform the Umrah generally go to Medina first, which is roughly five hours' drive from Jeddah.
Kami baru saja menziarahi keluarga(jemaah Umrah yang terkoban) di kediamannya. Mendakap kedap ibu mangsa, hatiku pula yang runtuh melihat ketabahannya. Moga dia tetap tabah dan ikhlas menerima ujian dan ketentuan Allah ini.
Dan moga mereka yang telah pergi itu diberkati dan dirahmati serta diterima ibadah mereka dan dihimpunkan-NYA bersama para syuhada.