A 5-year-old boy died Sunday in Saudi Arabia after being left in a school bus for several hours.
The incident took place in the Qatif governorate in the Eastern Province of the country.
The child – identified as Hassan Hashim Al Shoala – reportedly died of suffocation, according to Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
Authorities said the driver of the bus had locked the vehicle without confirming whether all the kids had gotten off. The driver then left the bus outside the school and did not return, Gulf News reported.
Saeed Al Bahes, a spokesperson of the Education Department in the Eastern Province, told local media the incident took place due to the forgetfulness of the driver. Temperatures in Qatif were as high as 40 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
“The Education Department in the region, under the close follow-up of its Director Dr. Sami Al-Otaibi, has constituted a working team to visit the school and carry out the necessary procedures related to all aspects of the tragic incident,” Bahes said Monday.
He also expressed his sorrow over the death of the child and offered condolences to the victim’s family.
It remains unclear if any formal charges have been placed against the driver. There were no reports of any arrests in the incident.
In a similar incident last month, a 4-year-old Indian girl died after being locked in a school bus in Qatar. According to reports, the girl – identified as Minsa Mariyam Jacob – fell asleep on her way to school. The staff did not notice she was still in the vehicle and left.
After a few hours, when some staff members returned to the bus, they noticed the girl was unresponsive. She was rushed to a hospital, where she was declared dead. Doctors said the child died of suffocation due to the intense heat
Qatar’s Ministry of Education launched an inquiry into the death seeking “maximum punishment” for those found responsible.
“The Ministry of Education and Higher Education decided to close the private kindergarten which witnessed the tragic accident that shook the community with the death of one of the female students, after the investigation proved the negligence of the workers, who were subjected to the most severe penalties. The Ministry renews its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our students in our various educational institutions,” it tweeted at the time.