x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Mushrif Mall cafe roof collapses, injuring two

A boy and a woman were taken to hospital for minor injuries after the ceiling at Cafe Doppio, in Mushrif Mall, collapsed.

ABU DHABI // An investigation has begun into the collapse of a cafe ceiling at Mushrif Mall that injured a boy and a woman.

The suspended ceiling of the newly opened Cafe Doppio fell on the two customers on Saturday night.

A boy, 9, was admitted to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City at 5.40pm and was treated for minor injuries to his chin and ear.

The woman, 30, was admitted to the hospital at about 7pm for pain in her elbow and head and was discharged soon after. The victims, both Emiratis, were not related. After the incident, plasterboard and lighting fixtures covered the red velvet chairs and the floor of the cafe, which opened three weeks ago.

Security guards and witnesses said there were about six patrons in the cafe at the time of the collapse. People crowded around the shop after the collapse to help those under the rubble and to take photographs.

The cafe owners could not be reached for comment.

Mall officials said the suspended ceiling was the responsibility of the cafe owners and not the mall contractors.

“Everyone knows that the drywall fell down. That’s it. That’s what happened last night and today we must wake up and see what to do next,” Rakan Al Harasis, the Mushrif Mall branch manager, said yesterday.

Mr Al Harasis said the mall may conduct a second inspection to ensure shops have complied with construction standards. All units were inspected when the mall opened in August.

Further inspections are “a necessity”, said Nada Abu Alftooh, an internet technology teacher who was at the mall on Sunday on a field trip with more than 60 Grade Four and Five pupils from Gulf Buds Private School. “I would be so worried if I went to the cafe again, I would not go there again,” said Ms Abu Alftooh. “The mall is safe but if I had a choice, I would not bring children near the cafe area.”

The cafe is near the children’s play area.

Henry Tongson, a waiter at the adjacent Noir Cafe, saw one man come to the rescue of a woman buried under plasterboard. Victims bruised from the incident entered his cafe after the collapse to recover.

“The ceiling fell down in seconds,” said Mr Tongson, 31. “After that all our customers kept on asking, ‘Is your ceiling safe?’”

Abu Dhabi Municipality will carry out an investigation into the cause of the collapse.

“It is the first time I’ve come to investigate such an incident,” said the municipal inspector, adding that it could take days to conclude the investigation.

“It’s a little scary, isn’t it?” said Glenda Salter, who was at the mall yesterday with her two-year-old son. “It’s scary when you have young children here. You wonder how it could have happened.”

But Ms Salter said the incident would not stop her from returning to the mall.

“It’s a beautiful place,” she said.