Dubai: Tourists visiting the Burj Khalifa have told how dozens of people "began to cry" after being stranded on the building's observation deck for over an hour.
At the Top, a visitor attraction located on the 124th floor of the world's tallest building, is temporarily closed to the public following "technical issues with the power supply" but is scheduled to reopen on Sunday, February 14.
A senior Dubai Civil Defence official confirmed to Gulf News on Monday there was an incident at the Burj Khalifa on Saturday evening.
The official said: "This is a minor case; it was not serious at all. Staff members at the Burj Khalifa handled the situation perfectly. Our role was to ensure the safety of the public. It is absolutely normal for a new building to face minor issues such as this, which involved one of the Burj Khalifa's elevators."
Gulf News spoke on Monday to several tourists who were stranded on the observation deck for over an hour on Saturday.
Michael Timms, a 31-year-old telecommunications engineer from the US, said: "I was walking around the observation deck when I heard this really loud noise and what looked like smoke or dust coming out from one of the elevator doors. There were at least 60 people on the deck at the time. Employees and security staff were telling people that everything was ok. But once it became clear we were not being allowed back down, some people got really angry while others started crying."
Lack of communication
Timms added: "Civil Defence, paramedics and the police all arrived on the scene. One of the elevators had not reached all the way to the 124th floor and I saw some people climbing a ladder from the elevator up on to the observation deck." Timms said they were given an offer to return for free.
"We eventually managed to get down to ground level via the service elevator. At the bottom, we were given water and offered refunds or the chance to return for free on another occasion. But there was a big lack of communication throughout the whole ordeal and it has certainly put me off going back up or taking visiting friends and family."
Michele Moscato, a 29-year-old tourist from the US, said: "I was pretty calm at first but as time went by I began to get really upset; it was pretty scary being stranded 124 floors above ground level."
A spokesperson for Burj Khalifa said in a statement on Sunday: "Due to unexpected high traffic, the observation deck experience at the Burj Khalifa, At the Top, has been temporarily closed for maintenance and upgrade.
"Technical issues with the power supply are being worked on by the main and sub-contractors and the public will be informed upon completion."
Fourteen people were also trapped in one of the Burj Khalifa's elevators for over an hour last month.
The group found themselves stuck at a height of 430 metres en route to the observation deck.
With inputs from Siham Al Najami, Staff Reporter
Information: Ticket refund
People with tickets for At the Top are being offered refunds. For more information, call 800 28843867 or visit www.atthetop.ae.