ABU DHABI // Police smashed through windows on the 23rd floor of a Khalidiya tower block to rescue two window cleaners who became trapped in their cradle 23 storeys up with high winds battering them.
The men were cleaning the under-construction building when the wind picked up causing the cradle to swing violently.
Pedestrians and workers had to be evacuated from the surrounding area while the police rescuers broke through windows to reach the men. It had been deemed too windy to bring the cradle down safely.
The two cleaners, both Asians, were taken to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City where they were found to be in good health.
Two weeks ago two window cleaners fell to their deaths after they were trapped on a maintenance cradle 15 floors above Khalifa Street. Authorities believe poor maintenance of their cradle may have been to blame.
And just a few days before that two cleaners working on the 15th floor of a building in Salam Street had to be rescued after a rope supporting their platform snapped.
Because of those incidents, Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM) is this week putting in place new regulations that require all window cleaning companies to obtain permits before starting any work at height.
Meanwhile, Dubai Police announced yesterday they are setting up a special unit to manage emergencies occurring at high-rise buildings.
The Dubai Police Chief, Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, said the team would be trained to deal with scenarios including kidnappings and suicide attempts which was vital for a city that is home to so many high-rise towers.
The decision to form the team came after eight officers from the CID and airport security took part in a training programme run in cooperation with Scotland Yard's hostage and negotiation unit.