Ceiling collapse claims six lives in Ajman

AJMAN — In a tragic incident, at least six Indian workers are feared to have met their concrete grave, when a fresh-laid flooring at an under-construction site in Ajman collapsed early morning yesterday.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Mon 2 Jun 2008, 5:24 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:22 PM

a1The incident happened at the under-construction Laguna Beach Hotel site on Ajman Corniche. The search and recovery operations continued until late evening yesterday but without success.

The concrete slabs collapsed suddenly, spilling large amounts of wet concrete into the basement of the site, trapping the six workers at around 3am. As the wet concrete began to harden very quickly, sources said, it made extricating the bodies very difficult.

Ajman Police and Civil Defence teams, aided by rescue units from Dubai, worked non-stop throughout the day in an attempt to search and recover the bodies. They also used sniffer dogs to try and locate the bodies buried in the basement.

Ajman Police Chief Col. Ali Alwan said that all company officials involved in the project, including site engineers, consultants and management staff of the Sidco Construction Company, had been detained for questioning.

a2It is being speculated that it was an excess amount of concrete poured on the floor that caused the accident.

However, no casualties were reported on the nearby site of Seidco Contracting Company, where some 60 labourers were working on the hotel construction project, official sources said.

His Highness Shaikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman and Member of Supreme Council, accompanied by Shaikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman, visited the accident site earlier in the day and expressed his grief at the tragedy. He instructed the rescue teams to speed up the rescue operations.

During their questioning, the detained staff of Seidco Construction Company have confirmed that all the six company workers, who were feared trapped, were involved in laying the concrete flooring when it caved in, Ali Alwan told Khaleej Times.

The flooring, they added, collapsed some 20 minutes after the wet concrete had been poured. "We are still not sure of the exact number of workers trapped in the site," Ali Alwan said while adding that the exact number of deaths would be known only after all the bodies are extricated.

a3Salih Al Matroushi, Director General of Ajman Civil Defence, said they reached the site immediately after the accident and cordoned off the area. All the workers were evacuated and sent back to their labour accommodation.

He disclosed that over 100 members of rescue teams from Ajman and Dubai Police and Civil Defence were carrying out the recovery operations, using heavy duty cranes and special equipment.

Engineer Ahmed Abdul Razaq, Assistant Director General of Technical Affairs at Ajman Municipality, said that according to the preliminary technical investigations conducted by the municipality, the iron bars of the pillars and the building material used in the construction were of high quality.

One of the workers who is an eyewitness, said six men from Punjab and one from Uttar Pradesh in India were working at the site when the roof caved in. "The workers are all aged below 25 years," the eyewitness said.

Meanwhile, a source at the Indian Consulate in Dubai said no detailed information on the workers was available with them as of now.

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