Minsa Maryam Jacob: Girl 4, suffocates to death after being locked in school bus for hours in 104°F heat

A young girl suffocated in a locked school bus in roughly 104°Fheat after staff forgot she was still in the vehicle after she dozed off

Minsa Maryam Jacob: Girl 4, suffocates to death after being locked in school bus for hours in 104°F heat
Representative Image (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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DOHA, QATAR: Minsa Maryam Jacob, 4, suffocated to death after she was locked in a school bus in around 104 degrees Fahrenheit heat on her fourth birthday. The staff at Springfield Kindergarten in Al Wakrah forgot Jacob was inside the vehicle after she had dozed off in Doha, Qatar on Sunday, September 11, 2022.

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When the bus arrived at the school, the young girl did not get off the bus and the staff appeared to have locked the bus unaware that she was still asleep on board. Later that afternoon, they discovered Jacob unconscious in the bus after they returned to the vehicle to take the school children back home. The paramedics rushed the child to a local hospital but sadly were unable to save her. 

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Although Doha's exact temperatures at the time are unclear, it is reported that it would have been between around 96.8 and 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit that day. And temperature tends to get higher inside a vehicle left under the sun.

Kochuparambil Abhilash Chacko and Soumya, Jacob's parents, who are originally from Kerala in India, reported the incident to the police. The four-year-old leaves behind a sister. As the parents of the four-year-old seek justice, Qatar’s education department has ensured to slap "the maximum punishment" possible on those responsible.

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The department tweeted, "The Ministry of Education and Higher Education mourns the death of a kindergarten student at a private school. The Ministry, in cooperation with the respective authorities, have started an investigation into the incident."

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"The Ministry, as well as the respective authorities, will take the necessary measures as well as the maximum punishment against the aggressors with regards to regulations and according to the results of the ongoing investigation," the tweet added.

The department continued, "The ministry also affirms its keenness to adhere to the highest quality of security and safety standards for its students, and will not tolerate any shortcomings in this regard. It extends its sincerest condolences to the family of the deceased student."

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On Monday, the local media reported that a "post-mortem examination had not yet taken place – but it is suspected that Minsa suffocated to death." The report added, "Three arrests have been made but it is unclear if any charges have been pressed."

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Qatar has faced widespread criticism over working conditions for people doing construction work for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in high temperatures.

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