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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 April 2019

Ras Al Khaimah zipline set to reopen after fatal helicopter crash

One of the ride's three cables was damaged in the accident on Jebel Jais two weeks ago

People ride the world's longest zip-line over Ras al-Khamiah's Jabal Jais Mountain, UAE January 31, 2018. Picture taken January 31, 2018. 
People ride the world's longest zip-line over Ras al-Khamiah's Jabal Jais Mountain, UAE January 31, 2018. Picture taken January 31, 2018. 

The world’s longest zipline is to set to reopen on Saturday, two weeks after it was shut following a fatal helicopter crash in Ras Al Khaimah.

The ride operated by adventure company Toroverde was closed as a result of the accident on December 29.

Four crew members died after their search and rescue aircraft crashed into the side of Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak.

Pilots Saqr Saeed Mohamed Abdullah Al Yamahi Hameed Mohamed Obaid Al Zaabi, navigator Jasim Abdullah Ali Tunaiji and first aid medic Mark Roxburgh all died when it burst into flames.

It is understood they were en route to pick up a hiker who was hurt in a fall when the accident occurred.

Investigators are looking into the possibility the helicopter clipped the zipline, sending the aircraft into a tailspin. The ride had already closed for the day at the time of the accident.

The zipline has three cables - two of which carry passengers and one that supports the braking system. The cable used for braking was damaged in the accident. It has since been repaired by engineers who were dispatched from the operator’s headquarters in Puerto Rico.

“Toroverde ran a full assessment of any damage to the zipline park, cables and infrastructure and has conducted the necessary repairs and tests," a spokeswoman said.

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"We can confirm that none of the ziplines which carry customers have been damaged, and none of our customers or staff were injured or involved in the accident."

Tests have been carried out in recent days and the zipline will officially reopen to the public on Saturday.

But Ricardo Lizano, chief executive of Toroverde and Haitham Mattar, the chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority, will ride it on Friday ahead of the relaunch.

All customers who were due to ride the zipline during the time it was shut have either been rescheduled or refunded, the company said.

“Now that we are absolutely certain that everything has been tested and continues to operate to the highest international safety standards, we will we reopen the zipline to the public," the spokeswoman said.

"We are currently contacting all of those people who had booked flights in order to reschedule them and are preparing to welcome the senior leadership of RAKTDA and Toroverde to take part in test flights before our official re-opening on Saturday."

The 2.83-kilometre long Jebel Jais zipline became the world’s longest when it opened in February last year, surpassing the 2.5km-long Monster Zipline in Puerto Rico.

Riders fly between 120 to 150 kilometres per hour, 1,680 metres above sea level.

Updated: January 15, 2019 06:19 PM

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