x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Adventure centre blames climber over fall

A climbing gym says a fall over the weekend that left a man seriously injured was his fault, not theirs.

The climbing wall at Adventure HQ in Times Square Mall from which Ahmad Daood fell.
The climbing wall at Adventure HQ in Times Square Mall from which Ahmad Daood fell.

DUBAI // The management of a climbing wall where a 29-year-old suffered two broken legs and a broken arm after falling eight metres over the weekend, yesterday blamed the climber.

Adventure HQ said that video footage of the incident indicated that Mr Ahmad Daood, from Jordan, had unhooked his harness, then reattached it to the climbing rope incorrectly.

"Mr Daood was harnessed correctly and briefed by a member of our qualified staff, but CCTV footage and witness reports prove the man unclipped the carabiner himself to change routes, which is against our safety regulations, and which Mr Daood would have been made aware of during his safety briefing," Sam Whittam, Adventure HQ's founder and general manager, said. "It was at this point Mr Daood did not hook himself onto the harness correctly, which has been deemed the cause of his fall.

"Our Climbing Pinnacle and Cable Climb staff have all been trained and are highly qualified rope instructors. The Wall and Pinnacle were built by the accredited international manufacturer Walltopia, and the specification meets the highest European standards. We wish Mr Daood a full and speedy recovery."

A CCTV video of the fall and the five minutes before it showed Mr Daood climbing up and down the wall twice. Prior to the fall, Mr Daood could be seen unhooking his harness while on the ground, and Mohammed Ali, his friend, could be seen reattaching it for him.

Mr Daood then went up the wall. About a minute later, he fell and landed feet first.

The only instructor on the scene visible on the video was preoccupied hooking up another climber and did not see what Mr Daood and Mr Ali were doing.

Police said their investigation was continuing. Adventure HQ has been allowed to continue operating.

Mr Ali was climbing next to his friend when he fell. He said both he and Mr Daood did indeed unfasten themselves, but claimed that they were not warned about the danger of doing so.

"Yes, we definitely unhooked and then rehooked ourselves, but no one told us this was dangerous," Mr Ali said. "Where is the strict monitoring, where are the instructors? There was only one person monitoring us and that's not enough. Maybe we didn't rehook properly. An instructor showed us how to hook up the equipment. In fact, I was the one who hooked up my wife after I was shown how.

"Our period to play was for 30 minutes. The instructor said we could play as we wanted, but no one said we shouldn't unhook ourselves."

Mr Ali added that there were no medical personnel to administer first aid after Mr Daood fell until paramedics arrived. He said no one from Adventure HQ had visited Mr Daood in the hospital.

The fall at Adventure HQ was the second in Dubai within 48 hours. Mohamed Alavian, 24, fell from a climbing wall at Dorell Sports at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Thursday evening, fracturing his skull and an arm. Maurice Dorell, owner of Dorell Sports, has been unavailable for comment since Saturday, his mobile phone switched off.

ealghalib@thenational.ae