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Jordanian army rescues injured Israeli stranded near Aqaba

Military sends helicopter to airlift tour guide trapped in Wadi Rum, who was unable to move after receiving head wound

Camels resting in Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, February 8, 2013 (Photo credit: Lucie March/Flash 90)
Camels resting in Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, February 8, 2013 (Photo credit: Lucie March/Flash 90)

A Jordanian army helicopter on Saturday morning rescued an injured Israeli tour guide who was trapped in a narrow wadi, or valley, after a receiving a head injury the day before.

The guide was injured Friday as he led a group of 18 Israelis in Wadi Rum, a popular tourist destination in south Jordan, east of Aqaba, that is famed for its red sandstone.

According to the Ynet news website, the guide received a blow to the head and was unable to move. The company that provided insurance for the guide was notified of the incident and immediately contacted the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

Given the sensitivity of the situation, the report said, the Foreign Ministry took charge. Israel signed a peace agreement with Jordan in 1994, although ties have often been tense.

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An official from the ministry’s department for Israelis abroad and the Israeli consulate in Jordan began coordination, with the ministry opening a situation room to handle the affair.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Jordan's King Abdullah II, during the former's surprise visit to Amman on January 16, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Palace)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, during the former’s surprise visit to Amman on January 16, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Palace)

Once it became clear that the injured man could not be reached by car, officials decided to use a helicopter. Jerusalem secured the services of a Jordanian military chopper, but that too initially proved to be unsuccessful. While the helicopter easily reached the site, Ynet said, it was unable to find a safe landing spot, and the would-be rescuers were forced to depart empty-handed.

The group then considered taking the injured man to higher ground, making an air rescue more straightforward, but his injuries precluded such a move. The group decided to wait until early Saturday morning, when the helicopter returned and this time managed to land successfully.

The injured man was airlifted to the Jordan-Israel border crossing at Aqaba, where an Israeli ambulance was waiting to take him to Yoseftal Hospital in nearby Eilat.

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