Ras Al Khaimah police rescue two groups of stranded European hikers

One badly prepared group ran out of water

Nine European hikers were airlifted  off the Ras Al Khaimah mountains in two separate incidents in the past week.

On Friday, four hikers got lost and ran out of water, while the following day, five day-trippers got disorientated and had to be helped down from the mountains.

All the hikers were in their thirties and forties, and spent at least seven hours stuck in the rugged Wadi Shah range.

Col Saeed Al Yammahi, chief of the Ras Al Khaimah Police Air Wing, said the location was a challenge for rescue teams, who were helped by local people.

“Residents of the area who are aware of the ins and outs of these mountains helped us locate the stranded groups,” Col Al Yammahi said.

The nine hikers were taken to hospital but none was injured.

Police and rescue groups regularly tell day-trippers that they do not take enough water with them, risking dehydration and death on the mountains.

The rescues in Ras Al Khaimah took place as more people take staycations and begin exploring the country.

Amy Subaey, ‎director of UAE Trekkers, has said many people do not understand the risks in the mountains.

"They start out too late in the morning, take enough water for [only] a few hours and underestimate the time it will take them to get back to safety," she said.

“They also think that help is just a phone call away and don’t understand that in some remote places in UAE, you cannot make that phone call.”

Ms Subaey said getting lost was also linked to dehydration, which affects the ability to think clearly.

“What happens next can be deadly, as heat exhaustion leads to heatstroke and death within hours. Hiking is not the same as going for a walk,” she said.

Ms Subaey advised people to walk in groups, never hike with someone who does not know the route and always carry at least five litres of water.