x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Helicopter seized by Jebel Ali customs

Customs officials deny aircraft could have been used for terrorism or smuggling operations, saying the model was being illegally imported into the country.

DUBAI //Customs officials at Jebel Ali port have seized a civilian helicopter claiming it was being illegally imported into the country.

The aircraft was identified in a media report as a Ukranian made DB AK1-3 Aerocopter and was discovered by customs inspectors inside a shipping container, which was marked as carrying furniture.

"These helicopters are commonly used by amateur aviation clubs that are present in many countries," said Ahmed Musabih, director of client management at Dubai Customs, without specifying when the aircraft was seized.

These recreational helicopters can carry a pilot and one passenger and retail for about US$150,000 (Dh550,000), according to the manufacturers.

"They fly in specially designated areas, away from airports and only fit two persons.

"These specific types of helicopters cannot reach high altitudes and cannot create much damage in the case that they crash into an object," said Mr Musabih.

He denied a media report published yesterday suggesting the aircraft could be used for terrorist activities or smuggling operations.

"The aircraft cannot be used in any smuggling or terrorist activities as it cannot fly long distances as it is designed only for short flights and it has a low speed," Mr Musabih added.

 

amustafa@thnational.ae