UAE | Emergencies

Window cleaning cradle collapse: man dead after accident in Tecom, Dubai

Injured man dies in hospital after platform plummets from Al Shaiba Tower

  • By Bassma Al Jandaly, Community and Crime Correspondent, Mariam M. Al Serkal, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 13:32 October 29, 2013

  • Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News
  • The window cleaning cradle fell from the 34-storey Al Shaiba Tower in Tecom, smashed into cars and injured people.
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Dubai: One man was killed and another injured when a window cleaning cradle fell from a 34-storey building in Tecom after its ropes snapped.

The accident happened early on Tuesday morning at the Al Shaiba Tower in Tecom. The victim died in hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

The falling cradle damaged 12 vehicles parked in front of the residential building, throwing up debris in a 200-metre radius. Stones and pieces of equipment were strewn under cars and across the pavement.

Eye-witnesses at the scene said they heard a loud crash at about 10.50am, and were shocked and left mystified as to what was taking place around them.

The deceased was identified by colleagues as Zafar Iqbal, 30, a Pakistani driver, who transported fruits and vegetables for three years at Jaleel Company.

“We made our usual morning delivery at the supermarket, and while he was at the back unloading the goods, a large piece of metal fell on top of the van,” said Bala Krishna, who was employed as a helper of the delivery company.

“We do this run everyday and Tuesday was no different. I heard a loud crash and then saw Zafar bleeding from one side of his body. He was still conscious when the ambulance took him to hospital. It is terrible what happened,” he said.

The victim, according to colleagues, was unmarried and had lived in Dubai for six years.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Tecom Investments said: “Our thoughts are with those affected by today’s tragic incident. We have been reassured by DTMFZA, the regulator in charge of site inspections in this community, that they are investigating the incident fully and will take action as necessary following completion of that process.”

In a statement, the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority said the authority was "deeply saddened" by the incident and that investigations involving the building management and authorities are ongoing to find out the cause of the incident. "We will take [necessary] action following completion of that process,” the authority said.

When contacted by Gulf News, an official at Dubai Municipality said that they will not be investigating the incident as they are, “only responsible for buildings in Tecom if it is still under construction. Otherwise, it is the responsibility of the project’s administrator, as they have their own rules that maintenance companies have to adhere to.”

A mechanical engineer at the site, who declined to be named, explained that the counterweight of the cradle that was placed on the building’s roof had received a very strong tension, which forced it to catapult onto the pavement and on to the delivery van.

“The trolley fell straight down, while the counterweight’s foundation was catapulted over the building,” he said. 

Another eye-witness, who was drinking coffee and smoking outside the building, said he heard loud shouts from pedestrians to get out of the way, at the time of the incident.

“There was a loud crash of metal and people were telling me to get out of the way. A Filipino man was injured and I took him quickly into a nearby shop for him to have time to gain his composure. I saw two other people that were bleeding, and there were people running in panic,” he said.

The cradle’s shaft — the electrical conductor of the counterweight — was found 200 metres away from the building.

The director of Jebel Ali police station, Colonel Abdul Qader Al Bannay, confirmed the accident took place at Al Shaiba Tower in Tecom when the window cleaning cradle broke and fell down from the 31st floor. He said two men who happened to be in the area sustained injuries and one of them died later in hospital.

Colonel Al Banay confirmed that the accident was caused by the collapse of a window-cleaning cradle, which was installed on the building, and that the window cleaning equipment fell down while no one was on it.

He said that police will investigate the reason behind the collapse of the scaffold with the concerned authority, and that nobody in charge of installing the window cleaning cradle has been arrested, and are being interrogated.

Police said the final report on the incident will be issued soon.

Comments (9)

  1. Added 13:14 October 30, 2013

    It was terrible incident. I live in that building. luckily I didn't park my car there nor I passed on that side at the time of incident. I heard a Police and Ambulance sirens and I saw from my balcony that police car closed the road and after I went to the incident site and saw the 3 cars broken into pieces. The Owers of the 2 cars out of 3 is believed they live in our building. I feel very shocked of it as I never saw it in my 4 years of life living on the same building. In Tecom its my first time I saw an incident.

    Fahim, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:10 October 30, 2013

    I work in construction as a safety manager and insist that anyone working in a suspended cradle wears a 'rope grab' attached to a seperate life line so if the cradle falls the operative is left suspended and does not plummet to his death with the cradle. This should be compulsory for all cradle works, do away with the 'shanty style' roof covering and offer these men proper protection against falls. This is a simple precaution that costs little with the potential to prevent numerous deaths from cradle operations, I know of 2 instances where these have worked and saved 4 men from falling to their deaths.

    Nigel Ree, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 12:59 October 30, 2013

    one thing i know for sure, accidents can happen anywhere.

    Leonard, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:21 October 30, 2013

    This is ridiculous. where are the safety precautions? Someone has to take the blame seriously and be punished..

    ray charles, DXB, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 11:45 October 30, 2013

    It's really a horrible tragedy for his family my heart beats with his family with his mother and father ... how will the family of the deceased would be compensated..and who has to pay for it?

    ami, kuwait, Kuwait

  6. Added 10:20 October 30, 2013

    When the counterweight assembly goes flying over the roof parapet it is clear that the device was not mounted correctly on to the roof slab. The roof slab mounting bolts holding the cradle assembly to the roof were either missing, of inferior quality or too small to carry the load. After the recent failure of the crane counterweight on a business bay construction site which also killed people, it is high time inspections be carried out. Beyond the hazard posed by falling cradles, there are abandoned construction sites across Dubai where cranes have not moved for months, with their counterweights hanging over high traffic areas. Case in point is in Karama, opposite Spinney’s Trade Centre Road, where a crane sits for months with its counterweight dangerously hanging directly over the paths below used by pedestrians and vehicles.

    Louie Tedesco, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 09:45 October 30, 2013

    an accident is an accident, why would we assume that they don't have knowledge or experience. Whether the operator or the person who installed this cradle is an expert, has experience and knowlegable of what he do. An accident can always happen. No one on this earth is safe. If its your time to leave this world, even in one's sleep (which you might consider your bedroom to be the safest place for you) one will die.

    Ryne, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 18:57 October 29, 2013

    As usual, the company's name is not mentioned!

    Jose, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 16:17 October 29, 2013

    we heard the *boom* crash over our window! next to our window everything ruined and then this construction falling down!! HOW SAFE can i be with these constructions? there is no one here to take the responsibility? why do they allow people to work without experience and knowledge?

    Panagiotis, Dubai, United Arab Emirates