British boy, aged 1, taken to morgue in body-bag by mistake - after surviving crash that killed family in Saudi Arabia

It was only when the bodies were being put into temporary storage units at a hospital that Eisa moved and workers realised he was still alive

A British toddler who survived a car crash in Saudi Arabia was taken to a morgue in a body bag because rescuers wrongly assumed he had died.

Mohamed Elisa Danial Hayat, who has since turned two, was the only member of three generations of his family to survive, after the taxi they were travelling in on a pilgrimage to Mecca hit a bridge and flipped over in February of this year.

The taxi driver, who also died, is believed to have caused the accident by driving too fast and falling asleep at the wheel. He was also uninsured at the time of the accident.

Emergency services arriving at the scene wrongly assumed everyone involved in the accident had died and set about recovering the bodies, apparently without checking for any signs of life.

It was only when the bodies were being put into temporary storage units at a hospital that Eisa moved and workers realised he was still alive.

Despite being unconscious when emergency services arrived, Eisa had only suffered a dislocated shoulder, a broken arm and broken ribs in the accident that killed all of his close relatives. It is believed he only survived the crash because his grandfather, Shaukat Hayat, was clutching him tightly at the moment of impact.

Speaking to Wales Online, Shaukat’s brother, Shazada Hayat, said: “They thought 'oh, the little baby was dead, no-one could've survived that’. He ended up in the mortuary. As they were putting him into storage he moved around.”

As well as Eisa’s 56-year-old grandfather, his mother Bilques, 30, father Mohammed, 33, grandmother Abida, 47 and aunt Saira, 29, were also killed in the crash. Bilques Hayat was heavily pregnant at the time of the accident and was due to give birth to Eisa’s sibling in eight weeks.

The family from Newport, south Wales, had been in Saudi Arabia as part of the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims at any time of the year, because Saira Zenub was due to get married that weekend. Eisa reportedly barely ate in the weeks after the accident, but has now made a full recovery.

As a result of the crash, members of the Hayats’ extended family have launched a campaign to ensure only licenced and insured drivers can operate in Saudi Arabia.

Shaukat Hayat said: “By us lobbying or asking for these changes, we might not be able to save hundreds and hundreds of lives, but if we could save one life, then it's a step in the right direction.”

He added: “Our concern is wellbeing. These roads must be made safe, not only for the Saudis living there but those pilgrims going there. People come there from all over the world. We can't just stay silent and do nothing about it.”

The five members of Eisa’ family who died in the crash were all buried at Jannat Al-Baqi - a huge cemetery in Medina, close to the Masjid al-Nabawi mosque.

The mosque, one of the largest in the world, is said to have been built on the site of the Prophet Mohamed’s house, and the cemetery is believed to be where he, and many other important early Islamic leaders, were buried. As a result the area is considered hugely significant, making it Islam’s second holiest site, behind the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca.

Speaking of the Hayat family’s burial there, Shaukat Hayat said: “Not everyone gets buried next to the prophet. For a Muslim you could not get a higher honour. That is the part of it that keeps all the family going”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing