AW139 Crashes After Hitting Zipline in UAE, Crew Killed

 - December 29, 2018, 4:39 PM
A SAR-configured Leonardo AW139 operated by the UAE’s National Search and Rescue Center crashed after clipping a zipline on Jebel Jais Mountain.

A SAR-configured Leonardo AW139 crashed Saturday after clipping the world’s longest zipline on Jebel Jais Mountain in the United Arab Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. All four crew aboard were killed. Photos of the crash show the helicopter hitting the zipline and being consumed in a post-crash fire. The helicopter was operated by the UAE’s National Search and Rescue Center.

The accident occurred at 5:50 p.m. local time while the helicopter was en route to pick up an injured patient on Jebel Jais. 

Jebel Jais is the highest peak in the UAE. The zipline is 1.74 miles long and positioned at an altitude of 5,512 feet msl. The summit of the mountain is 6,345 feet msl. The mountain is a popular destination for tourist and locals looking to escape the UAE’s extreme heat and is a frequent destination for first responders dealing with hiking injuries and auto accidents. 

The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is investigating. The UAE established the National Search and Rescue Center in 2013. More than 60 AW139s are operated in the UAE.