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10 UAE residents lose their way, spend night in desert; here's how cops saved them

Dhanusha Gokulan/Dubai
Filed on December 24, 2018 | Last updated on December 24, 2018 at 05.24 am
Their groupís two 4x4 Pathfinders sunk into a dune and they had entirely run out of food and water.-Supplied photo
Their group's two 4x4 Pathfinders sunk into a dune and they had entirely run out of food and water.-Supplied photo

The group left from Al Qudra on Friday at 5:00pm, and at around 8:00pm they took a wrong turn and lost their way.

When Indian national Musthak Ali, his friends, and some family members drove into the desert region near Al Qudra on Friday (December 21) evening, their sole intention was to take a few Instagram- friendly pictures facing the 'glorious desert sunset' (watch the video of the rescue here).

However, Musthak revealed that his group ended up getting far more than what they bargained for. The Malappuram-native, accompanied with a group of nine friends and family, including three women and a one-and-a-half-year-old toddler, lost their way in the desert on Friday night. The group ended up spending an entire night in the desert, where the temperature was nearing six degrees. "It was cold. However, we had blankets and some tents. Some of us slept inside the car," recalled Musthak.

Adding on to the series of unfortunate events, on Saturday morning, their group's two 4x4 Pathfinders sunk into a dune and they had entirely run out of food and water. With no other way to get out of the conundrum they were in, the group rang the Dubai Police for help.

"We were too deep into the desert. It was like being stuck at sea, but the difference was that all we saw around us was sand. It was just kilometres and kilometres of sand," Musthak told Khaleej Times. Police had to use a helicopter to spot their location as GPS services would not work in the area. They later revealed to Musthak and his friends that they had driven 18kms into the desert and ended up closer to the Muraqab desert region.

How the incident unfolded

Recounting the series of events that led to this adventure, Mustak said that he and his family would indulge in desert drives pretty regularly. "We have a group of Pathfinder owners, and we drive into the desert very often. On Friday evening, we decided to take our families along with us," he said.

Musthak's friend Shanavas Shamshudheen, the second driver, works as an engineer in a contracting company in Dubai. He said, "I was accompanied by my wife, my baby son, my parents' in-law, and two other friends. My in-laws were visiting from India, and this incident scared them as well."

The group left from Al Qudra on Friday at 5:00pm, and at around 8:00pm they took a wrong turn and lost their way. "Once it got dark, it was tough for us to find out way out. From 8 pm to 1 am the next morning, we kept driving around looking for a way out. In that process, we went deeper into the desert," he said.

"We realised we were very lost, and getting out this late at night would've been impossible, so we spent the night in the desert. We decided to find our way out of the desert next morning," Musthak explained. The group slept in the cars and used blankets and tents to protect themselves from the bitter cold.

The next morning, they set out again only to have their cars sink into a dune. "That's when things got bad. We'd run out food, and my in-laws are diabetic. We carried only one carton of water, and the people in our group began to panic. We called the police for help," said Shanavas.

The Dubai Police team found it very challenging to spot the group as they were stuck too deep into the desert in an area where GPS signals did not work. Musthak said, "Finally, a police helicopter flew in to spot their location, and the cop cars followed. They pulled our car out and gave us food and water."

Dubai Police saved our lives.

The Police led the group out of the desert into the Muraqab desert region. "We have so much gratitude for Dubai Police rescue team. The way they found us and they gave us food, water, and drove us back to safety. Had it not been for them, we don't know what we would've done," added Shanavaz.

When asked if they would stop desert driving, Musthak and Shanavas, "Not at all, desert driving is an incredible experience. If it was only us men, it would have been all right. However, we had aged people, women and children with us. That is a risk we will not take again. We would never take the vehicles that late into the night."

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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