ABU DHABI // High winds battered a cleaning cradle into the side of a tower block on Reem Island yesterday, causing glass to rain down on the swimming pool area.
At least one apartment on the 40th floor of Sun Tower, a Sorouh development, was damaged when the hanging cradle, which cleaners normally use to clean the outside of the 65-floor tower, veered wildly and smashed into the side of the building.
Property managers, Khidmah, said that no one in the pool area was hurt. One witness said he believed there were two men in the cradle at the time, but neither was injured.
Weather forecasters said that wind speeds reached 45kph in parts of the country yesterday.
Rob Cave, a British resident of the building, was moved from the pool area by guards when he realised there was a problem.
“We noticed that the cradle was swinging quite a way from the building and twisting around,” he said. “It started swinging again and then it smashed into the building and glass started falling. It looked like whoever was in the cradle was going to be trapped in there.”
Mr Cave said he received a message from the property managers, Khidmah, saying that the swimming pool area would be out of bounds until further notice.
Another Sun Tower resident, who did not want to be named, said he was playing tennis when the incident happened.
“We just heard crashing and when we looked up the basket that the men were in, it was smashing against the windows and glass was just raining down. Everybody started to scream. Nobody was injured. Everybody got out of the way.”
The staff did a good job, he added, and “got everybody clear”.
He confirmed there was at least one person inside the cradle but believed there may have been two.
The incident happened at about 4.15pm. The resident said the people were still stuck in the cradle nearly an hour later.
A spokesman for Khidmah said: “During the routine external cleaning of Sun Tower, a cleaning cradle hit a window, due to sudden unforeseen high winds, causing it to smash a pane of glass.
“We have decided to close the area beneath the affected window until further notice, to ensure it is properly cleaned up during daylight.
“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope to have the area open again shortly.”
* Additional reporting by Emily Cleland