The window cleaning cradle fell from the 34-storey Al Shaiba Tower in Tecom, smashed into cars and injured people. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News

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.