Five members of Newport family killed in Saudi car crash
VICTIMS: Clockwise from top left Shaukat Hayat, his wife Abida, daughter Saira Zenub Hayat and eldest son Mohammed Isshaq and his wife Bilques Haya, centre
FIVE members of the same Newport family have been killed in an horrific car crash while on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Shaukat Ali Hayat, 56, his wife Abida, 54, eldest son Mohammed Isshaq, 33, daughter Saira Zenub and Mohammed’s wife, Bilques, who had eight weeks left before she was due to give birth, were killed when the taxi they were travelling in left a motorway in Saudi Arabia.
Rescuers found Shaukat Ali Hayat, 56, cradling the family’s only survivor, one-year-old Mohammed Eisa Danial Hayat, in the wreckage of Friday morning’s crash – an action which the family say saved the baby’s life.
The family, who were from Alexandra Road, Pill, had booked the vehicle for a four hour journey to Jeddha to meet relatives.
Sma Hayat, 58, Shaukat’s brother, said they had performed the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims at any time of the year, because Saira Zenub was due to get married this weekend.
At around 5am on Friday, the family set off by taxi when Saira Zenub texted her sister to say it was going “too fast,” Mr Hayat said.
He reported the car went straight into a concrete bridge, somersaulted off the road and ended up in a ditch. The driver was said to have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Rescuers rushed to their aid and thought that the whole family had perished, until they found the little one-year-old underneath his grandfather, miraculously still alive.
Speaking about his brother, Mr Hayat said: “He saw what happened as the car went out of control.
He grabbed the baby, clutched it in his arms and cushioned him.”
Little Mohammed Eisa Daniel, who suffered injuries including a dislocated shoulder, broken arm and ribs, has been called the “Saudi miracle baby,” Mr Hayat said.
Twenty members of the family are now in Saudi Arabia to bring him back to Newport, once the family are buried later today in a prestigious graveyard called the Jannat-ul-Baqi, Medina, alongside famous names of Islamic faith.
This was following intervention from the Saudi royal family and the government, as news of the tragedy spread fast.
Mr Hayat said his brother Shaukat, who is also a sibling of Pill councillor and doctor Ibrahim Hayat, was a “well loved and liked” teacher and writer of Islam.
Saira Zenub was described as a “very talented” locum pharmacist, while Mohammed Isshaq was hoping to do a PHD in neuroscience at university, having excelled in his studies.
The family say they want to thank everyone at home and in Saudi Arabia for their support at this incredibly tough time.
“This is one of the most shocking tragedies in Welsh history involving a Muslim family. The boy has lost everyone but luckily he’s pulled through,” said Mr Hayat.
“We would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for their support,” he added.