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Saudis stranded in Empty Quarter rescued

Social media users heap criticism on their carelessness

Image Credit:
The three men (Centre) with the rescue mission team - Al Marsad
Gulf News

Manama: Saudi social media users have called for taking action against three men who got stranded in the Empty Quarter desert for annoying the police and wasting their time and resources.

The calls were made after the Border Guards announced they were able to find the three men in a search and rescue mission during which vehicles and a helicopter were deployed.

“My two friends and I were on an excursion to the Empty Quarter,” Khalid Al Enezi said, recalling the trip that started on Wednesday.

“We wanted to explore the area, but on the third day and as we decided to go home, we lost our way. We could not call for help because the devices in our possession had a limited range. As we did not know our way, we decided to walk only during daylight.”

A friend of the three men, anxious he was without news from them, on Sunday called the police and sought their assistance.

Ahmad Al Otaibi, the spokesperson for the Border Guards in the Eastern Province, confirmed the operation room received a call from a Saudi citizen reporting contact had been lost with friends in the Empty Quarter desert.

Several border patrols and a support centre in the Empty Quarter were tasked with the rescue mission in coordination with air-security, he added.

“The deployment and efforts resulted in the rescue of the three men and they are in good condition,” Al Otaibi said.

“We urge everyone keen on visiting such areas to follow rules and regulations and to exercise the highest level of care.”

But while social media users heaped praise on the rescue mission and the servicemen, they harshly criticised the three men for failing to take the necessary precautions as they entered one of the world’s most challenging and harshest areas.

“They should be ordered to pay a fine for their senseless behaviour,” Ali, a user, posted.

“At the very least, they should pay for the fuel the patrols and helicopter consumed while looking for them.”

Another user, under the moniker of Vision, called for greater care to avoid dangerous and embarrassing situations.

“Even if they are avid fans of admiring kilometres and kilometres of endless sand dunes, the least they could do was to take the necessary precautions,” Vision, a user, posted.

“Communication devices with a good range and huge quantities of water are needed. Otherwise, it is all risks, anxiety, embarrassment and extra work for the border guards.”

Another user said that wading impulsively and carelessly into the Empty Quarter amounted to suicide and called for action against the three men for causing trouble to the border guards.