Sentence reduced for driver in fatal Dubai tour bus crash

State-linked media in the UAE says a Dubai court has reduced the sentence of an Omani bus driver who crashed a bus carrying tourists in 2019, killing 17 people on board

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A Dubai court reduced the sentence of an Omani driver who crashed a bus carrying tourists in 2019, killing 17 people on board, state-linked media reported Thursday.

The appeals court reduced the driver's seven-year sentence followed by deportation down to just one year without deportation, the United Arab Emirates’ state-linked newspaper The National reported. The driver will still have to pay a $13,612 fine and some $925,660 to the families of the victims.

The tour bus packed with foreigners was heading from Oman back to the UAE in the summer of 2019 when the driver took a wrong highway exit and veered into an overhanging steel barrier, killing 17 people, including 12 Indians. Several others were injured.

The 54-year-old driver had accepted responsibility for the crash, the National reported, saying he was momentarily blinded by the sun's glare. He later appealed the verdict, arguing that the steel barrier was wrongly placed.

Among the 31 people on the ill-fated bus were also citizens of Bangladesh, Germany and the Philippines.