As a 63-storey Dubai hotel burned, a photographer hung onto a rope outside the 48th floor for life..


A Filipino photographer dangled from a rope outside a 63-storey Dubai hotel as a massive fire engulfed the building on New Year’s Eve.

Dennis Borja Mallari was given access to the 48th floor of the Address Downtown hotel to shoot Dubai’s New Year’s midnight fireworks display when his room filled with thick black smoke. Mallari told Gulf News that he tried running for the stairs but thought he would suffocate.

“I tried to get out through the stairs initially, but I figured I’d die of suffocation. So I went back and tried to find a way out.”

The way out was through the window.

Mallari survived the fire by grabbing about 30 metres of rope attached to a window-cleaning platform and securing it to his belt and equipment. As his room filled with smoke and fire burned on the floors below him, he jumped off a balcony and dangled from the side of the building.

With one hand, Mallari held onto to the rope and with the other he used his phone to contact his wife and colleagues for help.

The photographer had his camera rolling as he waited more than half an hour to be rescued. The videos show thick orange smoke and debris falling just below his dangling feet. Even the city’s skyline was below him.

When Mallari heard rescue workers approach his floor, he desperately tried to let them know he was still alive.

“When I saw lights and heard the sounds of footsteps at the floor I was in, I started tapping on the aluminum to get their attention,” Mallari told AFP.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, but it gave Mallari a New Year’s experience he’ll struggle to ever forget.

“I’m excited because it’s New Year, and (filled with) an adrenaline rush.”


02/01/2016 14:00  By: National Post