September 29, 2004
Casualties mounting after wall collapse in Dubai
A wall collapsed at an airport construction site Monday, killing more than eight workers and injuring many more, a contractor said.
Workers at Dubai airport said they saw up to 40 casualties being taking away, but the toll could not be immediately confirmed.
“At least eight people were killed on the spot and some died in hospital, but we don’t know how many,” said an official of Al-Naboodah Contracting Co., the main contractor at the site. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
A large partition in a building under construction collapsed, the contractor said. About 150 workers were on the site when the partition fell at 11 a.m.
“The wall fell down, and we all ran to help, but there wasn’t anything we could do,” said worker Daljinder Singh. “Rescue teams were very late in coming. It took them maybe one hour to arrive.”
“I saw many, many of my colleagues being taken away,” another worker said, before he was told to be quiet by a supervisor.
Other workers put the casualties at about 40, saying most were injured. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
Airport spokeswoman Lavina Dixit Chatterjee said there had been “an incident at the construction site of Terminal 3,” but did not give details.
Police said there were casualties, but they did not know how many.
The airport is being upgraded and expanded in a program costing $4.1 billion (U.S.).
It bills itself “the world’s fastest growing airport.”
The design consultant for the Terminal 3 construction is Aeroports de Paris International, according to the airport’s official Web site.
The French firm also operates Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, where part of a terminal collapsed in May, killing four people.
An Aeroports de Paris official in Dubai said the firm was not involved in the construction where Monday’s accident occurred.
“We did the architecture, but we have nothing to do with the construction,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Dubai airport handles 22 million passengers a year. The expansion is designed to boost the airport’s capacity to 60 million passengers a year when it is completed in 2018.
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