Four dead in UAE helicopter crash
South African medic and rescue worker, Mark Roxburgh and three other Emeratis crew members have been killed in a helicopter crash in Ras al-Khaimah in the north-eastern region of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, 29 December 2018. Roxburgh and three other Emeratis crew members died when their helicopter crashed while on a rescue mission. It is alleged that the chopper clipped 'the world’s highest zip line' on the UAE's highest mountain, Jebel Jais, in the crash. The UAE’s National Search and Rescue Centre has announced the names of the four-member crew who were killed while performing their duty on board Agusta 139 rescue helicopter which crashed next to Jais Mountain in Ras Al Khaimah earlier on Saturday.
The names are:
Pilot: Saqr Saeed Mohamed Abdullah AlYamahi
Pilot: Hameed Mohamed Obaid AlZa'abi
Navigator: Jasim Abdullah Ali Tunaiji
First Aid Man: Mark Roxburgh
The incident happened when the helicopter clipped a zipline on the mountain, the UAE's highest peak. The dead include three Emiratis and a foreigner. His Highness Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, has ordered immediate investigation into the crash of the helicopter, which was operated by the National Search and Rescue Centre. Shaikh Saud also ordered a comprehensive investigation into the security and safety requirements being followed in the incident site to establish the cause.
A top official said: “The accident happened at 17h50 on Saturday and the helicopter was on a mission to airlift an injured man from Jebel Jais. The helicopter crashed before reaching the man.” He said the helicopter crashed after hitting the zip line cable.
The ‘Jebel Jais Flight’ zipline is the world’s longest zipline in Ras Al Khaimah. It is 2,8km long, the length of 28 football fields and runs at a height of 1 680m above sea level, on top of Jebel Jais mountain, the UAE’s highest peak. By comparison, Burj Khalifa the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, is 828 m high.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has announced the crash, identifying the chopper as Agusta 139 helicopter. It said the incident took place during a rescue mission next to Jais Mountain in Ras Al Khaimah. GCAA stated the crash took place at about 17h50 on Saturday. Search and rescue operations are ongoing. The National Search and Rescue Centre confirmed that four crew members were on the board of the helicopter when the crash took place.
While the police have not released details of circumstances surrounding the crash, there have been a number of search and rescue operations on Jebal Jais over the years. In January, police rescued a European tourist who fell off the mountain while trekking.
A rescue helicopter was used to lift the victim. Later in the year, a Ras Al Khaimah police helicopter rescue team saved a Pakistani family from tragedy after their car plunged into a valley in Jebel Jais.
In September, a trekker who fell down the mountain was air lifted by helicopter to hospital, she didn’t survive and in October 2017, Ras Al Khaimah Police Air wing transported an injured woman to hospital from a ravine after her family car veered of the road.
What is Jebal Jais?
Roxburgh's sister, Lindy-Lee Felix, took to social media after receiving the news, describing her brother as a strong, courageous and selfless man, a loving uncle, son and brother and a passionate father. Felix describes the family as being 'beyond shattered'.
Source: Gulf News and SABC