Australian trekker found dead; incident sparks debate on safety

Muscat: An Australian tourist was found dead after falling off a mountain in the Wilayat of Al Awabi on Sunday. The body has been transferred by the aviation wing of the Royal Oman Police.
The incident also sparked debates on the safety guidelines to be followed by the trekkers and other adventure tourists.
The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA), which found the body of the Australian national in South Batinah, has urged tourists, especially trekkers, to be careful and avoid climbing mountains.
“While trekking from Al Hamra in Dakhiliyah Governorate towards Jabal Al Akhdhar on Monday, he seems to have lost the direction en route,” an official at ROP told the Observer.
Extensive search operations, since his disappearance, were conducted in cooperation with the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), PACDA and voluntary teams.
The deceased was presumably in his thirties as per details available.
The Ministry of Tourism urged both international and domestic tourists to be careful while trekking. “Make sure you are fully aware of the length and difficulty of a trail before setting off. Ensure you have sturdy shoes and adequate supplies of food and water,” a statement said.
A large number of citizens and residents also praised the role of the civil, defence and security apparatus in the search operations.
According to sources in the travel industry, it is advisable to take professional guides with good knowledge of the local terrain.
“With a guide to assist, the trekker can just focus on the adventure part and not worry about getting lost somewhere,” Abdullah, a tour operator based in Nizwa, said.
He added, “There are lots of young Omanis willing to guide tourists in trekking as it is a source of revenue for them. Tourists depend heavily on maps and GPS, which though handy cannot substitute for human assistance.”
Doctors too warned that trekkers should be in control of their health conditions such as dehydration, heart problems and sugar levels. “Adventure is always fun, but not misadventure. These guidelines are simple to follow and issued for our safety,” said Moshin Ali, a fitness expert.