MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino driver was arrested and is being probed by Saudi authorities in relation to the truck explosion that killed 22 people and wounded 111 last week in Riyadh, the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday, November 5.
The driver, identified by the DFA as Robin Kebeng, survived the blast and is being provided legal assistance while he is questioned by the police in connection with the incident.
"He is at present detained at the criminal investigation office undergoing investigation," DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez told Rappler in a text message on Monday, November 5.
According to a report from Saudi news site Arab News, Kebeng had been working legally in the kingdom for one year but so far the Philippine Embassy has been denied access to him.
The Saudi police suspect the Filipino was responsible for the accident, but Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago is not aware of any charges having been filed against him yet.
A previous report from Reuters claimed that the driver was distracted by another accident on the same highway before crashing.
Of the 11 Pinoys initially injured in the blast, 7 are still hospitalized and the rest were discharged over the weekend.
Another Filipino -- identified as driver Florentino Santiago -- was killed in the crash and will be repatriated in a few weeks, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said after the blast on Friday, November 1.
The embassy in Riyadh is helping the Filipino victims get the financial assistance they need, although some of them are entitled to medical benefits from their Saudi employers.
The accident took place on a main road in the Saudi after a truck veered into a bridge pylon, causing a gas leak that spread out and then burst into flames, destroying nearby cars and a building. - Rappler.com