British couple killed in Saudi Arabia coach explosion


Dawud Burbank Jeddah bomb Inferno: Flames engulf the bus which exploded as pilgrims were driven through Jeddah (Picture: Arab News/Caters)

Dawud Burbank, 49, and his 48-year-old wife, who has yet to be named, had just left Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Airport when their bus overheated and caught fire.

It is believed that all 29 pilgrims onboard were from the Salafi Mosque, in Birmingham.

Abu Khadeeja, from the Salafi Institute, said Mr Burbank was ‘one of the most respected Arabic to English language translators in the entire West’.

He added: ‘He was a brilliant man, very respected. People knew him in Canada and the USA and he had several books to his name. A lot of people will be very sad but we will pull together to get through this.’

There were three coach-loads of people who left the mosque, in Small Heath, on Monday.

Saudi official Lt Col Abdullah Al-Amri said the coach driver saw smoke billowing out of the engine so decided to pull over. The passengers had begun to disembark when the flames spread through the bus.

Neighbours of the couple, who lived in a semi-detached house in Aston, Birmingham, said they were well-liked and had several children.

One, who did not want to be named, said: ‘They seemed perfectly nice, we would say hello all the time. It is such a shame – this tragedy could not have happened to a nicer family.’

An investigation into the exact cause of the blaze is underway.

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