x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Relative of Abu Dhabi cleaner lashes at employer for 15-storey fall

The cousin of one of the window cleaners who died after plunging down 15 floors has spoken up against the employer for failing to save the two men.

DUBAI // A family member of one of two window cleaners who died on Tuesday after falling 15 floors in a maintenance cradle has hit out at their employer for failing to rescue them.

K Sudarshan, 25, and J Raju, 22, both from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, plunged to their deaths from a building in Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi, when the motor controlling their cradle malfunctioned. They were left hanging for four hours before the cradle eventually fell.

"I asked their manager why they were made to sit in the cradle for four hours," said Fariya Kethavath, Sudarshan's cousin.

"I was very upset and shouted at him. I believe when they called their supervisor, who assigned them the job, he asked them to call the police or someone higher. As labourers, they can't directly call their managers."

Mr Kethavath, who is a supervisor for a construction firm in Abu Dhabi, said the malfunction happened at 11 am and a technician arrived at about 3pm.

"The technician came and repaired it. It went up a floor and they thought it would be alright. But, then it plunged down 15 floors immediately. "

Abu Dhabi Municipality said the men's employer should have alerted Civil Defence when the problem was first spotted.

"Those men should never have been up there so long," municipality health and safety chief Abdulaziz Zurub said.

Police said the incident had been referred to the courts.

Their employer, Modern Building Maintenance, part of the ETA Ascon group, said the men were harnessed but could not say if they were harnessed independently to the building. This lifeline is required so that if the cradle falls, the men do not.

Yesterday, the group said it was investigating the accident.

A spokesman for the ETA Ascon group said the company would take care of the families and final compensation would be decided at the end of investigations.