SA Medic & Rescue Worker among the 4 Killed in Helicopter Crash
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Mark Roxburgh was one of four crewmen who lost their lives when their aircraft crashed on Jebel Jais
A critical care flight paramedic who died in a helicopter crash in Ras Al Khaimah was a single father supporting a young child, it has emerged.
Mark Roxburgh was one of four people who died on Saturday after the helicopter they were travelling in spun out of control before crashing into the side of Jebel Jais mountain.
Pilots Saqr Saeed Mohamed Abdullah Al Yamahi and Hameed Mohamed Obaid Al Zaabi, along with navigator Jasim Abdullah Ali Tunaiji also died in the incident, which took place at 5.50pm.
According to a post on Facebook, South African Mr Roxburgh described himself as a "single dad" to a young child.
He had been working in the Middle East for the past eight years, first in Qatar, before moving to the UAE in 2015 to join Abu Dhabi Aviation as a search and rescue winchman/paramedic in 2015.
“As long as I can remember my dad taught me about self-sacrifice in the service of those in need,” he wrote on his profile page.
Abu Dhabi Aviation provides search and rescue support to the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates, operating a fleet of seven AgustaWestland AW139 search and rescue-equipped helicopters.
Each SAR helicopter comprises a crew of four: two pilots, a winch operator and a rescue crewman/paramedic, according to the website of Abu Dhabi Aviation, which has declined to comment.
UAE residents took to social media to pay tribute to the crew, offering condolences to the families of the deceased with many dubbing the victims "martyrs" and "heroes" as they passed away while serving their country.
"Our heartfelt condolences go to the families of the faithful crew members of the plane that crashed in Ras Al Khaimah,” said Emirati Monthir Al Muzaki on Twitter.
تعازينا القلبية لذوي الرجال المخلصين شهداء طاقم الطائرة التي سقطت في رأس الخيمة مساء اليوم.
-الطيار صقر سعيد محمد عبدالله اليماحي
-الطيار حميد محمد عبيد الزعابي
-ملاح جاسم عبدالله علي الطنيجي-المسعف مارك غافين روكسبرج . — منذر المزكي الشامسي (@M_Almuzaki)
“We ask God to grant [the martyrs] who passed away while on a mission for the National Search and Rescue Centre on Saturday for his mercy and forgiveness and to give their families and loved ones strength,” said another user.
نسال الله العلي القدير أن يتغمدهم بواسع رحمته ويشملهم بفيض مغفرته وأن يجعل مثواهم الجنة،وأن يلهم أهلهم وأحباءهم جميل الصبروالسلوان لشهداء الواجب الوطني من منتسبي المركز الوطني للبحث والإنقاذ الذين استشهدوا يوم أمس السبت في #جبل_جيس بإمارة #رأس_الخيمةإنّا لله وإنّا إليه رَاجعُون pic.twitter.com/7OyJfJnqJz — وطني هويَتي🇦🇪 (@__2uae)
In Islam, a person who passes away while performing his duty is considered a martyr.
It is not clear why the crew was in the area at the time of the incident.
It has been widely reported the helicopter spun out of control after clipping the world’s longest zipline on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak.
But a spokeswoman for RAK Tourism Development Authority said that has not been confirmed, and forms part of an investigation which was launched into the incident last night.
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, ordered the investigation, according to state news agency, WAM.
Toroverde Ras Al Khaimah, which operates the zipline, posted a statement on its website.
“Toroverde Ras Al Khaimah regrets to report that there has been a very serious incident on the Mountain, Jebel Jais Mountain Park and access road have been closed until further notice, in order to give the Emergency services the access they need,” it read.
“All the World's Longest Zipline's flights are canceled and further notice and we will be in direct contact with all our customers by phone immediately. Thank you for your understanding.”
The 2.83km Jebel Jais zipline became the world’s longest when it opened in February of this year, surpassing the previous record holder, the 2.5km-long Monster Zipline in Puerto Rico. Riders fly between 120 to 150km/h, 1,680m above sea level.
Designed to accommodate a new set of riders every five minutes, the zipline is open from 9am to 5pm every day except Monday and Tuesday.
The zipline had been closed for more than half an hour when the crash occurred.
* Additional reporting Salam Al Amir
Updated: December 30, 2018 12:39 PM