In a tragedy that hit Saudi Arabia earlier this week, a 4-year-old girl was found dead after being forgotten on a school bus in Al Qunfudhah governorate.
The young girl was on her way to nursery when the tragic incident happened. A source told Kabr Day news site that the student didn't exit the school bus when all the other pupils did. The bus driver left the vehicle and locked the doors without checking if anyone was left behind. Hours later, the young student was found dead by her classmates, who boarded the bus after their school day had ended.
The terrified children notified their teachers, who immediately rushed to the scene.
Two teachers fainted after realizing the young student had died of suffocation and had to be transported to a local hospital.
Other officials reported the incident to authorities and paramedics, who immediately arrived at the scene. The little girl was rushed to a local hospital but was declared dead upon arrival.
In their statement on the matter, Al Qunfudah's Education Authority confirmed the student's death and sent their condolences to her family. They also stated that authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.
Shock and sorrow clouded the atmosphere in the country
"Her mom said goodbye that morning, not knowing it would be the last time she'd see her"
"May God have mercy on her soul."
Many were outraged
"I blame the bus driver over this. He knows there are children in there and they can fall asleep in less than a minute. How could he even leave the vehicle without checking if everyone left? This is proof of negligence and irresponsibility. If he was driving teenagers I'd have found an excuse for him."
"Why didn't anyone check the bus?"
"How did the school not call the parents to check why the child was absent?"
Many thought similar incidents can be prevented
"There has to be a supervisor along with the driver in every school bus. They'll ensure that every student gets off the vehicle."
"Until when are these tragedies going to recur?!"
"And it's all due to negligence. It's truly so unfortunate what's happening."
Not the first similar tragic case to be reported in the kingdom
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time a young Saudi school student dies after being forgotten on a bus.
In 2017, a 4-year-old child died after being left on a school bus for hours. The child was on board a bus transporting other kids to an after-school Qur'an class in Sabya governorate's Al Dabya city when he fell asleep and didn't exit the vehicle when all other students did.
After being locked on the bus for hours, the student was found unconscious by a driver, who immediately notified authorities of the incident.
In 2018, Abdulaziz Al-Muslim tragically passed away in similar circumstances. The 8-year-old got on his school bus early in the morning. As he was sleeping, everyone got off the bus and the driver locked the vehicle without checking if he had left anyone behind.
Due to excessive heat and lack of oxygen, Al-Muslim suffocated in his sleep.
He was then discovered and transferred to a local hospital in Saihat at around noon but passed away five minutes after reaching the building.
At the time of the incident, local media outlets spoke to both the parents and uncle of the victim, who said this wasn't the first time the boy was forgotten on a school bus.
Unfortunately, the second time it happened, the incident claimed his life.