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World's tallest tower in Dubai reopens

World's tallest tower in Dubai reopens

The observation deck of the world's tallest skyscraper reopened Sunday in Dubai, two months after an elevator malfunction left visitors trapped more than 120 stories above the ground and forced it to close.
Dozens of tourists were lining up Sunday for tickets to take an elevator to the 124th floor of the half-mile-high Burj Khalifa, where the tower's observation deck is located.
The deck was shut in February after an elevator packed with visitors got stuck between floors for 45 minutes before rescuers dropped a ladder into the shaft so those inside could crawl out. Two months later, it's still unclear what caused the elevator to fail.
The accident proved a major embarrassment for Dubai, whose rulers hoped the Burj Khalifa, which officially opened in January, would be a major tourist draw and buoy the Gulf city-state as it struggles to revive its image as a cutting-edge Arab metropolis amid nagging questions about its financial health.
At 2,717 feet (828 meters), the tapering, silvery tower ranks as not only the world's highest skyscraper, but also the tallest freestanding structure in the world.
Its developer, Emaar Properties has not officially announced the observation deck's reopening. The firm handling Emaar's public relations did not immediately respond to calls from The AP.
The Burj Khalifa tower rises more than 160 stories, though the exact number of floors is not known. The observation deck is mostly enclosed, but it includes an outdoor terrace bordered by guard rails and is located about two-thirds of the way up.
The tower has 57 elevators. They are supplied by Farmington, Conn.-based Otis Elevator Co., part of United Technologies Corp. Otis spokesman Dilip Rangnekar previously told the AP that the installation is ongoing. On Sunday he did not respond to a request for details on the elevators' repairs or their safety.
Visitors to the observation deck use two dedicated elevators that whisk them from the base to the 124th viewing floor. The elevators can take up to 15 people each and run daily every half hour from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Because of its immense height, the Burj will have areas on levels 43, 76 and 123 known as "sky lobbies" where tenants will change from express elevators to local ones that stop on each floor.
The observation deck was the only part of the tower that opened in January and it boasts a view of Dubai's glimmering skyline, the sprawling desert and the emirate's Gulf shore. Work continues on the rest of the building's interior and the first tenants are supposed to move in soon.
Most visitors who paid the 100 dirhams ($27) for a 3-minute ride to the deck either didn't know about February's elevator malfunction or did not mind the ride's bumpy start.
"We feel fortunate to have gone up," said Sheetal Gulati, a tourist from the U.K. on a three-day trip to Dubai. "The view is very nice and worth seeing."
Emaar, the state-linked company that owns the tower, had little to say about February's accident. The company said nothing about an elevator malfunction at the time of the accident and did not provide details of any repairs or maintenance work on the elevators before the viewing deck reopened Sunday.
Burj Khalifa was designed by Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which has a long track record engineering some of the world's tallest buildings, including Chicago's Willis Tower, the tallest in the U.S. formerly known as the Sears Tower.
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http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/


Updated : 2021-05-06 13:07 GMT+08:00