SOS – Marooned in the desert | Part 2 of Inland Sea Adventure

Our vehicle recovery from the Sealine Desert by AOUN Qatar Rescue

As a follow up to our SA Inland Sea Adventure, we come to the rescue and recovery of our vehicle which we were forced to abandon in the desert due to what we thought was a ruptured radiator.

After 2 days of hunting for a breakdown service to recover our vehicle from the baron landscape of the Qatari Desert, we quickly realised that no breakdown was willing to enter the harsh terrain fearing that they would get bogged down in the thick desert sand.

Finally, it was recommended that we contact the AOUN Qatar Rescue team for assistance. So, on Sunday, after our car had spent 2 nights in the sand pit, we finally contacted the Qatar Rescue Team.

Now the AOUN Qatar Rescue organization is a government funded organization linked to the 999 emergency services for anyone stuck or stranded in remote areas in Qatar. They cover all the desert terrain across the country and have an army of members and vehicles ready to be called to action for anyone in distress.

Our contact person was Mr Mohammed, who immediately put an action plan in place to get the vehicle recovered. In my limited mechanical knowledge of vehicles, I was sure that the radiator was busted because of the amount of water which came pouring out from under the front of the car. I was also convinced of this due to the way I hit the sudden ascent of a send dune.

This major issue with the car did not seem to faze the rescue team much, as they were prepared to if need be, to tow the car over the 35km trek through the harsh terrain during the darkness of the desert night.

Once all of the recovery options were prepared for by the team, Mr Mohammed called me to inform me that he would be collecting me at my home in Al Sadd some 48km away from the entrance to the dreaded desert and drive me out to the entrance where we would meet the rest of the team which would drive us through the desert to where the vehicle had been abandoned.

On arrival at the Sealine Beach entrance to the desert, Mr Mohammed bought me a cup of Arabic tea which I would later discover was to calm the nerves for the drive ahead. Within 30 minutes of our arrival, we were met by the rescue team and we climbed into Mr Hassan’s enormously powerful SUV for the 35km drive into the desert. Before we departed, Mr Hassen requested to see the location which I had pinned 2 nights earlier at the area of the incident. After examining the location for about 10 seconds, with a Bismillah, we set off in the direction of where the vehicle was located.

Now at this point, I feel it very necessary to mention that although the desert is one huge sand pit, there are tracks which have been forged by many years of novice explorers and thrill seekers, yet Mr Hassan didn’t much take not of these tracks and set off directly in more or less a straight line in the direction of the marooned vehicle.

This ultimately meant that we would be driving over terrain that included mountainous sand dunes and down deep valleys of soft sand. Yet this did not stop the desert master rescuers of reaching speeds of up to 120km per hour at times and jumping from dune to dune.

When reaching these speeds, I discovered how drivers felt during the Dhakka Rally and realised why the Karak Tea was given to me to quell the nerves.

Never the less, after about 30 minutes of bouncing around on the backseat of the SUV and holding on for dear life, we finally reached the car. At this point, the car was inspected by the team who very quickly discovered that to my surprise, that the car’s radiator had not been damaged, instead that one of the waterpipes had come loose from its clamp.

It was at this point that I realised just how equipped the rescue team was, they quickly repaired the pipe, filled the car with many litres of water, did a standard check-up of the tyres, suspension, other fluids and finally checked the 4×4 settings before we set off. Mr Mohammed had taken charge of my car and we started the trek to safety out of the desert.

Now on the Friday night, after the dreaded incident, it took us just under three hours to get out of the desert from that point as novice off roaders, yet on this night it would only take us 35 minutes from that point back to the tea shop at the entrance to the desert.

In every society around the world, we find all types of people, people who would be willing to assist others and those who could not care less. In Qatar, one always gets the impression that the locals are very much unapproachable. However, this nightmarish incident has brought out a side of Qatar and its people which very few have seen.

Qatar is indeed a country that goes out of its way to make sure that its inhabitants are safe even though these calamities are caused by stupidity and inexperience, they will come to your rescue with pleasure.

We would like to sincerely thank, Mr Mohammed the general coordinator, Mr Hassan for locating the car with pinpoint accuracy, Mr Noogh for the mechanical assistance and the rest of the AOUN Qatar Rescue Team for the unselfish support and dedication to keeping all Qatar’s people safe.

To end this article, we would like to let our readers know that this service is a free service to everyone in Qatar, all you have to do is either call 999 Emergency or to call AOUN Qatar Rescue directly on 6620 2220 or 5586 0066.

Today I feel even safer, knowing that these heroes are around to save me in my time of need.

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