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Oman deploys air ambulance in tourist area

Helicopter is equipped to respond to emergencies along desert highway

Gulf News

Muscat: With thousands of Gulf region tourists pouring into Salalah for holidays, amid the area’s current monsoon weather, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) have deployed an air ambulance designed to respond to traffic accidents or other medical emergencies during the course of the holiday season.

A helicopter fitted with emergency trauma care equipment has been positioned at the ROP’s Al Wusta Police Command, roughly at the midpoint between Muscat in the northeast and Salalah in the far south of the Sultanate.

Its deployment along the highway used by holidaymakers travelling overland to Salalah allows the ROP to rapidly respond to traffic related emergencies anywhere along the roughly 800km motorway leading to the holiday hotspot. In a statement, the Directorate-General of Police Aviation said the helicopter service will be available round-the-clock to attend to persons involved in breakdowns or mishaps anywhere along the highway.

Its operational reach covers the central desert of the Sultanate extending from Adam district on the edges of the desert in the north to Thamrait in the south.

According to the helicopter’s pilot, Lieutanant Saud Bin Mohammad Rashdi, qualified paramedical staff on board will be able to render all necessary preliminary emergency care to accident victims as they are airlifted to the nearest hospital.

A second helicopter can also be quickly operational if needed, he said. Meanwhile, the ROP said on Wednesday that they had taken measures to streamline traffic along the Adam-Thamrait highway, currently the main land link to Salalah.

Traffic has been heavy along the carriageway since the start of the khareef (monsoon) season with the bulk of the estimated quarter of a million tourists, who have visited Salalah so far this summer, having chosen the overland route.

Patrols have been beefed up along the carriageway with mobile units equipped with speed monitoring equipment helping to regulate traffic in a bid to minimise accidents, the ROP said.