Dubai tower shut after visitors stuck in elevator

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Associated Press

Posted on February 9, 2010 at 5:31 PM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — There are more details emerging on just why the world's tallest building has been closed to visitors.

It turns out that a problem with an elevator over the weekend left 15 people trapped inside for 45 minutes, until rescuers were able to pry open the doors.

Visitors on the observation deck heard a loud boom, and then saw dust that looked like smoke seeping through a crack in an elevator door, 124 floors above the ground.

Rescuers had to drop a ladder into the shaft so the people inside could crawl out.

On the observation deck, about 60 more people were stranded, and witnesses say some began to panic.

The half-mile-high building had just opened a month ago. It was supposed to be one of Dubai's proudest achievements -- but the incident is the latest embarrassment for Dubai, which is now mired in a deep financial crisis.

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Burj Khalif , the world's tallest building is illuminated during opening ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on texture, partial graphic

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: People are shown where to queue for a refund of their money at the ticket counter after the observation deck of the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa was unexpectedly shut down in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010. The closure is potentially disappointing thousands of tourists and marring the spire's image just a month after it opened. The precise cause of the $1.5 billion Dubai skyscraper's closure remained unclear. In a brief statement responding to questions, building owner Emaar Properties blamed the closure on "unexpected high traffic," but then suggested that electrical problems were also at fault.

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