A WINDOW-CLEANER plunged 17 floors to his death yesterday after the cables of a suspended platform he was working on snapped.
Pakistani Mohammed Shafique Siddique was cleaning the windows of the Al Rossais Tower in the Diplomatic Area when one of the cables broke at 7.30am, dropping the 48-year-old onto the ground.
The impact of the fall was so severe that his body was not in one piece.
Mr Siddique was unable to hold on to anything as he was not wearing safety gear when he was 17 floors up in the air.
"As one of the cables snapped, Mr Siddique was thrown out," said a police official who was at the scene.
"He had no time to grab on to anything and he was not harnessed."
Witnesses said they were shocked when they heard a hysterical scream and a loud thud caused by the impact of the fall.
"The moment I looked up, I heard a loud noise and realised someone had fallen," said a car cleaner who was in the area.
Another man, who was in a nearby building, said he could hear the commotion caused by the incident from inside his office lift.
"When I looked down after reaching my office, I saw a crowd gathered at the scene," he said.
An investigation has been launched into the incident, said Labour Ministry labour inspections head Ahmed Al Haiki.
"This is a clear case of a major violation and we will ensure the guilty are punished," he added.
It is understood Mr Siddiqui took on odd jobs part time, but worked for Alia Buildings as a full-time employee.
His two sons, brother-in-law, cousin and son-in-law live in Bahrain, while his wife and daughter live in Lahore in Pakistan's Punjab province.
"There was no safety equipment and he was not harnessed. I am upset because we always believe nothing will happen. This is a tragedy and we are all very badly affected," said his cousin Tariq Naved.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Embassy officials pledged to help his family through insurance money.
"We are saddened by the tragedy and will take all steps to see that the victim is given the proper insurance," said deputy head of mission Aurangzeb.
However, Alia Buildings manager Adnan Saleh said the insurance money could not be handed over as Mr Siddiqui violated the terms of his employment, but promised to help his family in other ways and pay for the repatriation.
"He was with our company for the last 20 years and was a very dedicated worker," he said.
"However, I now know he was working for other people when he was off work, maybe to earn extra money. This is illegal.
"The insurance money may not be handed over since he was violating the terms of the contract."