x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE’s Global Village rides still closed after death, but crowds return

Despite the accident from the Ferris wheel on January 24 that killed a man, Global Village remains a popular destination for expatriates and locals alike.

The Ferris wheel and other rides at Global Village remains closed after the January 24 accident that killed a man, but visitors are undeterred and continue to flock to the fair. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
The Ferris wheel and other rides at Global Village remains closed after the January 24 accident that killed a man, but visitors are undeterred and continue to flock to the fair. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // More than a month after a man was killed by a rod that fell from the Global Village Ferris wheel, all rides at the popular fairground remain closed and the investigations continue.

Mohammed Al Habsi, 37, a father of seven and a member of the Armed Forces, died in the January 24 accident. Three men, the owner, operator and the engineer responsible for the ride, were arrested.

“The entire fun fairground and games are suspended until further notice,” said a Global Village spokeswoman. “The investigations are still being carried out.”

Despite the tragedy, the rest of the park continues to draw visitors and will operate until March 30.

Now in its seventh season, Global Village attracts Emiratis and expatriates who flock to its diverse shops, restaurants and regionally styled pavilions.

Yesterday, hundreds queued before its gates opened at 4pm. Most were aware of the Ferris wheel incident and subsequent closure of the rides.

“Every week we come here because there is so much to see and to buy,” said Amna Al Omeri, accompanied by her sisters. “But I have stopped bringing my sons because they want to go on the rides. They can see the rides so can’t understand why they are not working.”

Red metal barricades fence off the Ferris wheel, carousels and video game arcades that make up the funfair section. “It’s good it is all shut down,” said Hosham Khorakhy, another regular visitor.

“It could have been much worse if there was a bigger collapse. I hope it’s a lesson learned and all rules and regulations are followed and there are more checks before it opens again. Safety is the most important thing.”

Dubai Municipality officials said memorandums will be issued to owners and operators of indoor and outdoor amusement parks to follow specific inspection procedures.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

* Additional reporting by Salam Al Amir