Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Experienced UAE hiker killed on wadi walk in Oman

Melvyn Munyua suffered fatal head injuries when he leapt into a cool water wadi south of Muscat

Kenyan Melvyn Munyua, who lived in Dubai, suffered fatal head injuries after jumping into a wadi in Oman.
Kenyan Melvyn Munyua, who lived in Dubai, suffered fatal head injuries after jumping into a wadi in Oman.

An experienced hiker has died after striking his head on a rock when he dived in a freshwater wadi in Oman.

Melvyn Munyua was retrieved by helicopter at Wadi Al Arbeieen, south of Muscat, on Friday and pronounced dead a short time later.

The Kenyan, 41, suffered fatal head injuries when he jumped into a mountain pool, Royal Oman Police said.

Wadi Al Arbeieen is a remote area popular with outdoor adventurists for its rugged rock formations.

Fellow hikers described Munyua, who lived in Discovery Gardens, Dubai, as "charming and kind".

Saad Suliman, from Pakistan, regularly leads hikes on UAE routes in Wadi Showka, Jebel Jais and Wadi Sha and had been on several trips with Munyua.

When beginners would come out with us, he was very supportive. Melvyn was very charming, everyone loved him

Saad Suliman, hiking guide

“Just last year I was hiking with Melvyn on a trip to Jebel Shams, he was a great guy. He was always lively and jumping around the place," he told The National.

He described Munyua, who worked for the British book publisher Hachette in Media City, as experienced and confident.

“He would have no trouble leading a hike on his own. He was very helpful and always there to lend a hand," he said.

“When beginners would come out with us, he was very supportive. Melvyn was very charming, everyone loved him.”

The accident is the latest death in the region’s mountains. In June, a British man fell to his death while hiking in the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah.

He was among three other Britons who were hiking in the mountains before getting injured and becoming stranded in the Al Manaie area, bordering Oman.

Mr Suliman said even experienced hikers can make errors.

“When everyone is tired and has been hiking after several hours people make mistakes," he said.

“Melvyn was doing well for himself. He was single with a flexible job, so he did a lot of trips. He was extremely fit.

Melvyn Munyua, who died while hiking in Oman, on a recent trip to climb Mount Kilimunjaro in Tanzania.
Melvyn on a recent trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

“Friends on the trip said one minute he was there and the next he had gone. They found his body a little later."

Major Mohammed Al Hashami, of Royal Oman Police, said: “The accident took place in a very rugged area and it was very difficult for the helicopter to find a suitable place to land so it took some time to reach the injured man.

“He was airlifted to the hospital and was pronounced dead there due to his severe injuries.”

Charlotte Baikie, a friend of Munyua, described him as a lover of books who enjoyed his work.

"He knew every author, every superhero and every plot line to any novel worth reading," she said.

"Melvyn grew up in a tough environment in his home country and had made a success of himself by immigrating to the UAE.

"He was an excellent friend, had the most hearty laugh and always kept it real. He has touched so many lives and he will be dearly missed by so many of us that are utterly grief stricken by this inexplicable event."

On social media, friends and acquaintances paid tribute.

“Melvyn Munyua your death is a sudden and tragic loss,” said Karani Mtaani.

“You were an inspiration to all of us back in the days, watching you play basketball and your success in business.

“Humble bookworm. I toast to your remarkable life. Travel well.”

Additional reporting by Ruba Haza

This article has been updated to clarify the accident happened on Friday and not Saturday, as was originally reported.

Updated: July 26, 2019 08:09 AM

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