Four killed after rescue helicopter strikes zip line in UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah

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Horrified onlookers watch as the helicopter spins out of control after clipping a zip line. (Screengrab)
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Horrified onlookers watch as the helicopter spins out of control after clipping a zip line. (Screengrab)
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Horrified onlookers watch as the helicopter spins out of control after clipping a zip line. (Screengrab)
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The helicopter crashes into the mountain and bursts into flames. (Screengrab)
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Ras Al Khaimah’s Jebel Jais – the highest mountain in the UAE, is home to the world’s longest zipline. (Shutterstock)
Updated 30 December 2018

Four killed after rescue helicopter strikes zip line in UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah

  • Local media reported that the helicopter hit a zipline before crashing and bursting into flames
  • The helicopter was on a rescue mission near Jebel Jais when it crashed

DUBAI: A rescue helicopter crashed in Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday evening killing all of the crew, the country’s civil aviation authority said.

Local media reported that the helicopter struck a zip line before crashing and bursting into flames. Video circulated on social media showed the helicopter spinning before it crashed into the mountain.

The dead include three Emiratis and a foreigner.

“An Agusta 139 helicopter in a rescue mission crashed in Jebel Jais area in the Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah," state news agency WAM quoted the UAE’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) as saying.

Ras Al-Khaimah's ruler, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al-Qasimi, ordered an urgent investigation into the helicopter’s crash.

He also ordered "a comprehensive investigation of the security and safety requirements in place to determine the cause of this painful incident," WAM reported.




The Agusta 139 helicopter was operated by the UAE's National Search and Rescue Center. (File photo: WAM)

The statement added that the helicopter crashed at about 5:55 p.m. local time (1:55 p.m. GMT).

An official said the helicopter from the National Search and Rescue Center was on a mission to airlift an injured man from Jebel Jais but the helicopter crashed before reaching the man.

Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE, is home to the world's longest zipline.




Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE, is home to the world's longest zipline. (Shutterstock)

The zipline, measuring 2.83 kilometers long, opened in February as part of an effort by the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah to attract more tourists and residents from neighboring emirates like Abu Dhabi and Dubai.


Family backs Tlaib’s decision not to visit Israel

Updated 18 August 2019

Family backs Tlaib’s decision not to visit Israel

  • Israel said a humanitarian travel request by Tlaib would be considered as long as she promised not to promote a boycott against Israel

RAMALLAH: Relatives of a US congresswoman say they support her decision to decline Israel’s offer allowing her to visit them in the West Bank because the “right to travel should be provided to all without any conditions.”

Rashida Tlaib said she would not see her family, even after Israel lifted a ban on her entry, because the government had imposed restrictions on her trip.

“We totally understand her position and support her in her efforts. The right to travel should be provided to all without any conditions,” her uncle Bassam Tlaib told Arab News.

He was speaking from the family home in Beit Ur Al-Fuka, which is 3 km from the West Bank city of Ramallah, and was flanked by his elderly mother.

He said his niece had visited them many times in the past, but there had never been any conditions attached to her travel.

“She said we will meet when she can come without conditions,” Tlaib said. “One idea has been floated of flying the grandmother to the US or finding a way to have the two meetings in a third country. You know my mother is nearing 90 and it is not easy for her to travel but we are checking out all options.”

Tlaib, a Democrat, has criticized Israel’s policy toward Palestinians and had planned to make an official visit to the country.

Israel said a humanitarian travel request by Tlaib would be considered as long as she promised not to promote a boycott against Israel, local media reported.

But the congresswoman, who is Palestinian-American, lashed out on social media.

“I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies,” she tweeted, using the word sity to refer to her grandmother. “Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

The NGO hosting and organizing the trip, Miftah, has been criticized by supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Hanan Ashrawi, the NGO’s founder, said her staff had organized other congressional trips. “This was the third trip we have organized, and we try to do our work professionally and seriously,” Ashrawi told Arab News. “Our very mission is to promote global dialogue and democracy.”

Ashrawi said the attacks on Miftah were unwarranted.  “Miftah has been targeted with the expressed goal of trying to discredit us even though our record is clear. We believe that they are trying to keep organizing congressional delegations within the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) monopoly, while we are trying to provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about Palestinian life under occupation and to understand the Palestinian narrative by providing opportunities for delegations to see and engage with Palestinians of all walks of life.” 

Ashrawi said Miftah had been “vetted” by the US Congress’ ethics committee. “We might not be able to bring hundreds of congress people like AIPAC, but we can bring a few and have them see, hear and interact with Palestinians.”

US President Donald Trump had called on Israel not to allow Tlaib and fellow congresswoman Ilhan Omar into Israel as admitting the two “would show great weakness.”

He tweeted that the pair “hate Israel and all Jewish people, and there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace.”