x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Lift failure blamed for Burj Khalifa closure

A faulty lift has been revealed as a possible cause of the closure of the world's tallest building to visitors.

DUBAI // A faulty lift was revealed yesterday as a possible cause of the closure of the world's tallest building to visitors. A lift in the Burj Khalifa became stuck between floors on Saturday and the occupants were rescued unharmed, according to Abu Naseer, a spokesman for the Dubai Civil Defence. The public viewing area on the 124th floor has been closed since then. "There was an emergency on Saturday evening and 15 people were rescued when the lift got stuck between floor 124 and 125. It was opened halfway and we had them rescued within 30 minutes," said Mr Naseer.

"There was no smoke or fire or anything like that. It was very simple." News reports have quoted people who said they heard a bang and saw dust coming out of one of the elevator shafts. The operator of the 828-metre tower, Emaar, would not confirm an incident involving the lift yesterday and neither would the lift contractor, Otis. It is the second reported lift problem since the tower opened last month.

The At The Top observation deck was closed to the public until further notice on Sunday, little more than a month after it opened. Emaar blamed problems with the power supply for its sudden closure. Some ticket holders have been told by staff at the tower that it would reopen next Sunday and that they had the option to rebook their visits or claim a refund. Emaar, however, has not confirmed this. Visitors to the building's website, www.burjkhalifa.ae, are being told: "Please be advised that online tickets to At the Top are temporarily on hold due to maintenance at the attraction."

The faulty lift is one of 57 elevators in the tower that travel at a record-breaking 10 metres per second. Emaar has said the lifts have a capacity of 12 to 14 people. At the centre of Burj Khalifa's core is the main elevator, which has the world's tallest shaft at 504 metres. More than 75,000 workers from Otis were involved in the installation of the elevators and escalators in the tower. Five days after Burj Khalifa's official opening on January 4, 14 people got stuck in one of the elevators for an hour.

eharnan@thenational.ae