Dubai tower's visitors were stuck almost 'At the Top'

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The Independent Online

The "At the Top" observation deck of the world's tallest tower in Dubai remained shut on Wednesday after its elevator became stuck, trapping passengers near the deck's 124th floor, civil defence said.

"The elevator stopped for thirty minutes" on Saturday, Dubai Civil Defence spokesman Abu Naseer said on Wednesday. "The people inside were rescued, and no one was hurt."

"The elevator was stuck close to the observation deck," of Burj Khalifa, he added.

The tower's developer, Emaar Properties, announced Monday that the deck was closed for repairs.

The company attributed the closure to "unexpected high traffic," and had not previously indicated that there were any problems with the elevator, which takes visitors from the ground to the observation deck in less than a minute.

Visitors pay 400 dirhams (109 dollars) for immediate entry, and 100 dirhams (27 dollars) to reserve tickets with a wait to access the observation deck - the only part open to visitors in the 828-metre (2,717 feet) tower.

Emaar has announced that ticket holders can rebook beginning Sunday or receive an immediate refund, but it did not say when new tickets could be purchased.

A number of would-be visitors went to the ticket desk in Dubai Mall on Wednesday, only to find that they could not purchase tickets, nor use those they had had already bought.

"Of course we are disappointed," said Jacob Ladefoged, a Danish tourist who was visiting Dubai with his wife.

"We go home tomorrow," he said. "It was part of the reason we came; we wanted to see the tallest building, go in, take pictures."

Jacomina Makaske, who was visiting with her husband from Holland, had already been to the deck at night, and wanted to go again during the day.

"We made an email reservation" but "got a refund, because we're going back to Holland ... It's a pity," she said.

Eric Ng, who was travelling with his family from China, said he was "disappointed. We're only here until Saturday."

The glistening concrete, glass and steel pinnacle was inaugurated just over a month ago in a lavish ceremony.

It was known as Burj Dubai during construction, but Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum last month renamed it after Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi came to Dubai's rescue late last year to the tune of 10 billion dollars after Dubai's economy went into a nose-dive.

Construction of Burj Khalifa was begun in 2004, and cost 1.5 billion dollars (1.09 billion euros).

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