DUBAI // A distraught mother who was too late to stop her five-year-old son falling to his death from an eighth-floor apartment yesterday died minutes later after throwing herself from the same window.
The little boy had been alone in the flat in Jumeirah Lakes Towers at about 7am, while his mother was at the entrance to the building waiting for the school bus with her 14-year-old daughter.
The child climbed on to a table near the apartment window, police believe. Eyewitnesses said the mother, in her early 30s, rushed back up to the apartment when she saw her son dangling from the window. Too late to grab him, she jumped to her death.
A security guard in his 30s who tried to catch the boy was also injured. He is being treated at Rashid Hospital.
Karima Khamis, one of the victim’s neighbours, first heard a scream from a child followed shortly after by the shouts of a woman.
“I got terrified and looked outside to find out what happened. I saw the woman in a hysterical situation trying to push the window open.”
Mohammed Hassan, 29, an electrical engineer who lives in the apartment next door to the victims, heard screams just before 7am.
“I went out and found the woman running in the corridor and hysterically screaming: ‘It is a disastrous day’,” he said.
“I rushed down to find out what happened and found the boy lying down in his blood still alive and his sister holding his hand and crying.
“The poor girl, in her black and blue uniform, was just sitting there crying.”
The crowd that gathered at the base of the tower began screaming when it became clear that the boy’s mother intended to jump from the window.
“The boy was on the ground and the woman was looking from her window and people were shouting from the ground floor urging the woman not to throw herself,” said one witness.
Mr Hassan and a number of other tenants tried in vain to reach the woman before she jumped.
“When we realised that the woman was hysterical we rushed up to calm her down. We entered the apartment and searched through it and could not find anyone. Then we realised that she had also fallen,” Mr Hassan said.
The family, from Iran, had moved to the one-bedroom flat only a month ago, according to other tenants. The father was abroad but is travelling back to Dubai.
“We deployed police patrols immediately after receiving the report to examine the case,” said Brig Khalil Al Mansouri, head of the Criminal Investigation Department of Dubai Police.
Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, chief of police, co-ordinated the investigation while his deputy, Maj Gen Khamis Al Mazeina, went to the scene, according to a police statement.
Police have asked municipality safety experts to investigate the safety of the window in the apartment, in the MAG214 building.
Other tower deaths
August 27, 2008 A young girl fell to her death from a second-storey balcony of an apartment block in Al Ain. Investigating officers said the circumstances surrounding her death – her parents had left children playing unsupervised in a room adjacent to an open balcony – showed “obvious neglect”.
April 2009 A five-year-old Jordanian girl died after she tried to climb over her parents’ 16th-floor balcony, landing on another one five floors below.
April 2009 A four-year-old boy fell about 30 metres from his parents’ third-floor flat, surviving with only cuts and bruises after landing on a car bonnet. He tumbled after climbing on to a chair beside the window.
January 20, 2010 A three-year-old boy died after falling from a 13th-floor window of a Khalidiya apartment. The mother had left the child with her Indonesian maid. Relatives told The National the mother had gone to a pharmacy to buy medicine for her ill son.
August 17, 2011 A five-year-old Egyptian boy fell to his death from the eighth floor of a building in Nuaimiya area in Ajman, just behind the GMC Hospital. The accident happened at about 9pm when the boy woke up and walked out of an open window, according to police.
September 6, 2011 Sahaj Bisaria, a 16-year-old American boy, died after falling from a 21st-floor apartment in Sharjah while taking photos of the evening sky. He he had gone to the veranda of his family’s neighbours in Al Majjaz to photograph the dusk. He had just begun 10th grade at the American School in Dubai, attending only three days of school before the accident.
* The National staff