The Rivera family. Picture: ABS-CBN online news portal. The remains of the burnt Nissan Pathfinder.
Ambassador Relacion providing details of the incident at the Philippine embassy yesterday. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
By Joey Aguilar
A Doha-based Filipino family of three and their two guests on a visit from Saudi Arabia were the five victims of the ghastly accident that happened near Hamad International Airport on the Corniche-Wakrah highway on Monday, it is learnt.
Philippine ambassador Crescente Relacion yesterday identified the deceased family members as Bencris Rivera, a 36-year old engineer employed with Louie Berger construction, his wife Joycelyn Rivera (housewife), 38, and their one year-old child.
The other two victims, 24-year-old Joyce Geli and 27-year-old Marilou Cal, were nurses employed at the Specialised Medical Centre in Riyadh and were visiting Qatar during the Eid al-Adha holidays on the invitation of their colleague and Bencris’ sister Suzeth Rivera.
Suzeth, the lone survivor, works as a secretary at the same Riyadh hospital where Joyce and Marilou were employed as nurses. Suzeth suffered back and head injuries but is reported to be out of danger and recuperating at the Hamad hospital.
“The two nurses from Saudi Arabia were invited by their colleague Suzeth, the sister of Bencris, to spend the Eid al-Adha holidays in Qatar with her brother’s family,” the ambassador said.
Talking about the follow-up action of the accident, the ambassador said the embassy would recommend the hiring of a lawyer to handle the case.
“If the driver (suspect) is criminally liable, then he should be prosecuted and penalised,”
ambassador Relacion told Gulf Times.
While awaiting the results of the police investigation, Philippine embassy officials are working for the immediate repatriation of the bodies.
According to the ambassador, on the fateful day, the Rivera family had taken their guests on a tour of Doha. To show them the newly-opened Hamad International Airport from a distance, Bencris stopped his Nissan Pathfinder at a dedicated “short-term” parking area on the Corniche-Wakrah highway and all of them came out of the vehicle to see the airport.
“They were about to leave and Suzeth was the last to board,” Relacion said. “All of a sudden a Land Cruiser, believed to be driven by an 18- year old national, hit the Pathfinder from behind.”
It is learnt that Suzeth was thrown out of the vehicle due to the impact and the vehicle caught fire. All the five inside the Pathfinder were burnt to death. The incident happened between 12.30pm and 1pm.
Relacion said that though the impact was huge the driver of the Land Cruiser escaped with minor injuries.
A Philippine embassy official, who visited the Hamad hospital mortuary on Monday, had told Gulf Times that all the bodies were charred beyond recognition.
“The bodies have so badly been burnt that even the gender of the deceased could not be verified. Forensic examination would be required to identify the victims,” he said.
As members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the families of the victims will be receiving some financial compensation from the Philippine government.