The 10-member group, which had a child and some elderly persons, got stranded in the Al Qudra desert in Dubai without food and with little water on Friday evening.

Night-long misadventure Malayali group gets lost in Dubai desert cops rescueImage courtesy: Manorama news
news Mishap Monday, December 24, 2018 - 18:03

In a desert adventure gone wrong, a group of 10 Malayalis survived a short, unpleasant stint after they were stranded in the Al Qudra desert in Dubai on Friday. The group consisted of Mushtaq, a pharmaceutical company owner originally from Malappuram, his friend Shahanas and the latter’s family from Pathanamthitta.

On Friday evening, they had gone for what was planned to be a 2-hour drive to catch the sunset. Little did they know that it would turn into nearly 24-hour-long unpleasant adventure without food and barely any water. The group was eventually able to contact the Dubai police who located them aerially and sent a rescue team with food and water.

Speaking to TNM, Mushtaq said he had driven several times in the desert in the past, and this was his the first time he got lost. “We had left to the the Al Qudra area at around 5 pm on Friday. We thought we would catch the sunset and then return home before we lost the light,” he said.

The mishap happened when they wanted to return after clicking pictures of the sunset - the group realised that one of the car tyres was punctured.

“It took us nearly an hour to fix the car. By the time we could start again it was 8 pm. There was no sunlight and we could barely see where were going. We started following the tracks of another vehicle to find the way out,” Mushtaq recalled.

Image courtesy Manorama News 

However, this turned out to be a mistake - the group ended up travelling deeper into the desert instead of exiting it.

“We travelled about 20 kms inside as we drove non-stop for 5 hours. It was only at 1 am that we realised that we were not exiting the desert and that we were really lost. So we decided to camp out in the desert since it was really late,” he added.

The next morning, the group drove for a bit, attempting to find their way out. However, one of the cars got trapped in a dune and couldn’t get out. By then, it was past 12 pm on Saturday and the group, which included one child and a few elderly people, was famished.

“We had one child with us and many adults. They were all tired and couldn’t stay here much longer. We had not packed any food as we thought we are coming back on Friday itself. The water too was getting depleted fast. This is when we decided that we will call the cops,” he said.

Once the police were contacted, it took around 45 minutes for the rescue officials to trace the family. Initially 4X4 patrolling vehicles which are used to move around in the desert couldn’t locate the group. Following this, a helicopter was dispatched.

“We were too far inside the desert, and they couldn’t locate us. This is why the helicopter was sent. Right behind them the patrolling officers came and gave us food and water. We ate and then followed them to get out the desert,” Mushtaq said.

After a three-hour journey, the group finally got out of the desert, on to the freeway at the Muraqb area of Dubai. “Usually we exit through another point in Al Qudra when we visit in groups of 20 or 30. This time however, we got out at  Al Muraqabbat, not so close to Al Qudra,” he said.

Mushtaq  also appreciated the efficiency of the Dubai police as they tracked them quickly. “We had made a distress call and ever since then they continuously messaged us to check if we were doing okay,” he said.

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.