At least four construction workers fell to their deaths and several others were injured in two separate incidents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this weekend after scaffolding on which the men were working collapsed.
In Dubai, two workers died and nine were injured when the scaffolding on a building under construction in Dubailand collapsed this morning. The injured workers were rushed to Rashid Hospital by helicopter. A large number of ambulances and rescue teams rushed to the scene.
A police officer at the accident site confirmed that two workers had died. “Investigations are going on to find the cause of the accident,” the policeman said. “Two workers are dead and nine injured.”
The accident happened at the seven-storey residential building under construction in Dubailand opposite Dubai Silicon Oasis, on Dubai Al Ain Road, at around 11am today.
Rescue dogs were released on the scene to search for any more bodies that may have been trapped under the debris. Hundreds of workers were at the site when the scaffolding crumbled. They were painting from outside and fixing glass at the time of the incident.
Workers ran out in fear of their lives soon after the collapse. “I thank God for being alive,” said the Indian worker Ashwini Kumar, adding that he held on to a pipe to survive. “The scaffolding collapsed like a pack of cards. I shivered in fear that I would be dead.” He said that 30 to 40 workers were on the scaffolding. “People were screaming and shouting as it fell off. Some people were pulled out of the rubble to take them to the hospital. It’s a frightening scene,” Mr Kumar said, adding that most of the workers at the site were from India and Bangladesh.
A watchman at the site said he heard a big noise. “It’s like a cyclone as everything fell off,” he said. “There was big sound.”
Some of the workers were taken inside the ambulance to receive first aid. Two dead bodies could be seen lying at the site, wrapped in plastic sheets on the stretcher before police removed them. “I saw some workers being taken to the hospital with broken legs and blood all over their bodies,” said another worker.
The site has been sealed as the investigation continues.
In Abu Dhabi, five men fell yesterday from a residential building under construction next to the Euro Hotel on Muroor Road in the Al Falah area. Two of the men, an Indian and a Bengali, died on the spot, witnesses said. The other three were taken to hospital.
Several people who witnessed the accident, which happened around 10.30am on Friday before the prayer, were emotionally shaken by it.
“They were only there to remove the paper on the windows, because the building was completed,” said a nearby doorman who did not wish to be named. “But five of them were there, so the bloc they were standing on outside the building crumbled under their feet and they all fell.”
Abu Dhabi Police said the incident is under investigation.
The Ministry of Labour is awaiting the final report from Abu Dhabi Police before conducting their own investigation on the developers. “We at the ministry will ensure that the workers who were injured are compensated, and make sure that they receive the necessary health care,” a spokesman from the ministry said of the Abu Dhabi accident. “We will also ensure that the company provides them with necessary sick leave and does not to rush them back to work.”
The spokesman said families of the deceased would be compensated financially. “The company will not be allowed to continue work at the construction site until a full inspection is run there,” he said. “As well as all other construction sites, the company may have to ensure workers’ safety.”