Dubai: Dubai Police have launched an investigation into a video that has emerged of a Russian model posing for a death-defying photo shoot on top of a Dubai Marina skyscraper, a senior officer has said.
The video, which has gone viral, shows a 23-year-old visitor called Viktoria Odintcova performing a stunt above the 306-metre-tall Cayan Tower in Dubai without any safety gear.
Photos and videos from the photo shoot were published through her Instagram account where she is seen risking her life as she dangles off the world’s tallest twisted tower, while being held up only by one hand of a male assistant.
She is also seen tilting backwards with her eyes closed over the huge drop.
The stunt, which appears to be done without official permission, has raised questions on whether people are obtaining permission to perform such stunts.
Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said individuals who perform stunts on top of skyscrapers could face prosecution for endangering other people’s lives, given they could fall onto a pedestrian below.
“We are currently investigating the case. We have previously warned people to not perform such acts. They don’t realise that it could cost them their life if something goes wrong,” Al Mansouri said.
Odintcova’s last post on Instagram shows that she has already left the country and is in the Maldives.
Al Mansouri explained: “If people want to perform such stunts, they need to obtain a permission and inform the specialised authority. Such dangerous acts require specific safety measures to be taken and preparation in order to secure their lives. We will arrest individuals if they have not obtained a permission,” Al Mansouri said.
In the full video on YouTube, Odintcova and a crew of three people, including the cameraman, are seen driving to the tower and then sneaking up the tower’s staircase to the rooftop without the knowledge of the building’s owner or security guards.
The lack of safety measures and support from emergency personnel and building security indicates that the performer did not seek permission.
Gulf News contacted Cayan Group, the developer of the residential tower, who had previously given permission to a Frenchman known as ‘Spiderman’ to climb the skyscraper, to understand if the event could have happened without their knowledge, but no comment was issued by press time.
This is not the first time daredevils are climbing Dubai’s tall skyscrapers to pose for selfies or film their experience.
A British thrill-seeker named James Kingston was previously arrested for scaling one of the city’s tallest towers, but was released later following an official warning.
Maj-Gen Al Mansouri said climbers posting these videos “target the towers of Dubai to become famous on social media”.
He said owners of the towers and their security guards are requested to report the matter to police if they come across people accessing the building to perform such acts.
Meanwhile, many people, including some of Odintcova’s three million Instagram followers, have heavily criticised her for doing the stunt, calling her reckless and a bad example for the youth. Others said that no one should be risking their life for social media likes or fame.
The video was initially uploaded to her profile in December and has garnered more than one million views.
In a caption on one of her posts from the shoot, the model admitted that she was nervous when she performed the stunt. She wrote: “All stunts are executed by professionals — don’t try it yourself.”
She also wrote: “I still cannot believe that I did it. Every time I watch this video, my palms get sweaty.”
— With inputs from Ali Al Shouk, Staff Reporter