x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Burj Khalifa suicide jumper 'was grieving for dead brother'

Police say 38-year-old Indian who jumped from 148th floor and landed on observation deck was suffering 'psychological trauma'.

DUBAI // The 38-year-old construction foreman who jumped to his death from the Burj Khalifa on Tuesday had psychological problems and left his shoes and a diary near the air vent from which he leapt.

The Indian consulate yesterday identified the dead man as Athiraman Kannan, from the state of Tamil Nadu, and said he worked at the construction firm Arabtec in the Burj Khalifa.

A company official said: "When he came into work, he was OK. He was fine at 7.40am. At 8.30 he was emotionally distressed."

Mr Kannan was a construction foreman in an area where finishing work was being done. He took off his shoes and left a diary near by before climbing out of an air vent on the 148th floor, Bur Dubai Police Station Chief Col Ali Ghanim said.

"I would like to call upon the public to avoid unconfirmed rumours; people said he had a problem with his company, but we have checked and found out that he had psychological problems," he said.

Mr Kannan had suffered "severe psychological trauma caused by the death of his brother" in December, police said.

Arabtec said Mr Kannan had been an employee there since 2000. Although several sources inside the company said he had become distraught after being denied holiday time, Arabtec said that was incorrect. Mr Kannan would be "missed by his colleagues," the company said.

The Indian consulate said officials were "in touch with the concerned authorities and will extend all assistance in sending the mortal remains to his family after completion of the required formalities".

Police initially had said Mr Kannan jumped from an air vent on the 147th floor and landed on the 108th. Today, Col Ghanim confirmed that the vent was on the 148th floor and the body landed on the observation deck at the 124th floor, as The National reported yesterday, after bouncing off metalwork on the tower.

The deck was "closed for maintenance" on Tuesday night, according to a representative at the observatory.

Floors 45 to 108 of the tower are private residences, and most of the remaining floors are used as corporate suites. The At the Top public observatory is on the 124th floor, and the restaurant At.mosphere is on floor 122.

The police investigation is continuing.

pkannan@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting from Awad Mustafa and Ramola Talwar