Hiker dies on Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah

Hospital source says cause of death not yet known, but 25-year-old British man is believed to have slipped and fallen.

Alex Underhill, left, taken from George Crewe’s Facebook post.
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FUJAIRAH // A 25-year-old man died while hiking in the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah this week.

The man, named as Briton Alex Underhill by staff at RAK’s Saqr Hospital, was hiking up Jebel Jais on Tuesday when he is believed to have slipped and fallen.

A friend who was leading the hike reported the incident to police and an ambulance and helicopter were dispatched to the scene, but the hiker died before the helicopter arrived. His body was taken to Saqr Hospital in RAK City.

“The operation room received a call between 4pm and 5pm on Tuesday about the incident from the hiker’s friend and a rescue team was dispatched, but he was already dead,” said Lt Col Marwan Jakah, director of media and public relations at RAK Police.

“Hikers should arrange with us and the tourism authority when going for a hiking trip for their own safety and should be cautious when visiting rugged areas, especially in the hot weather,” he said.

Sources at Saqr Hospital said the man’s body arrived at the hospital at 6.20pm.

“He might have had a heart -attack or it could be a lack of oxygen or dehydration, we couldn’t identify the cause of death because he had only a small cut on his knee. Only an autopsy can reveal the cause of death,” the source said.

His body was taken to a forensic laboratory to determine the cause of death.

With temperatures in RAK peaking at 45°C on Tuesday, any time spent hiking would have been exhausting and extremely dangerous, said Amy Subaey, director of UAE Trekkers.

“The heat in this region is extreme by any measure and can be deadly at any time of year. A very simple recommendation for hiking in the summer months of June, July, or August is not to do it at all,” she said.

“One can easily lose one’s way anywhere in RAK because the trails are unmarked.

“At every turn, hikers face steep cliffs and scree slopes that are challenging even in the cooler months.

“Without sufficient water, safety equipment, proper hiking boots or access to help, the area is treacherous.”

Ms Subaey said the trekking community were shocked to hear of the hiker’s death.

“We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young man involved in this tragic incident,” she said.