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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 26/01/2013

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The funfair area of Global Village deserted after the death of a visitor on Friday. — KT photo by Monika Roman
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Emirati man who was fatally struck by a falling piece of metal from a Ferris wheel at Dubai's Global Village died a hero, after forcing companions into a clear path, according to the police.

Global Village's Funfair Zone took on a heart-wrenching meaning for the family of 37-year-old A.R.Q.A.H. who was spending Thursday evening with his loved ones when an iron rod fell from the Ferris wheel and killed him.

The Global Village has suspended operations of the Funfair Zone until further notice, while the Dubai Police and authorities concerned have launched a full investigation into the incident.

A second tragic weekend accident claimed the life of a five-year-old boy who fell out of the window of his third-storey Abu Dhabi apartment on Friday. The boy was admitted to hospital, but died later last night.

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Staff at the Global Village say the Thursday accident took place about 10pm, and injured two others - one of whose arms was reportedly badly wounded. Dubai Police Criminal Investigation Department Director Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri said three people had been charged with unintentional murder, after an interrogation, and the case had been referred to Public Prosecution.

The three charged are understood to be the maintenance worker who had reportedly done his routine work on the day of the accident and had responsibility for the rides; the owner of the rides, operated by company Freij Entertainment; and a representative from the company in charge of the maintenance work. The victim's body has been handed over to his family for burial, it is understood.

Al Mansouri said moments before the victim was struck by the iron rod, he saw it coming andpushed his companions out of the way, as they stood by one of the rides. The object had fallen about 25 metres, Al Mansouri said.

The accident is not the first to have happened at the Global Village, with a woman left dead when an element of the Indian Pavilion facade broke loose, causing injury to at least eight others in 2010. Last December, a two-year-old Emirati boy was left hospitalised with brain haemorrhage after he was hit by a ride at the Sharjah Water Festival.

The Global Village's Funfair Zone has been managed and operated by Freij Entertainment, a private company, since the re-opening of the fair a few months ago.

When Khaleej Times visited Global Village on Friday, the Funfair Zone wore a desolate look, with at least six metres cordoned off by security, who refused to offer any details about the accident. Most wouldn't breathe a word about what had happened, though balloon sellers were more helpful in shedding light.

Umer, who earns his living selling shiny helium Angry Birds and Spongebob Squarepants balloons, said he wasn't at the scene of the accident, but had heard from others that someone had died at the rides around about 10pm. In hushed tones, he said it was believed another woman's arm was left battered and heavily bloodied.

However, in the areas adjacent to the site of the tragedy it was business as usual. The pavilions appeared no less crowded, as families gravitated to stalls and food counters. People thronged to Pizza Hut, KFC and Hardee's, whipping out cell phones and cameras to record the bursts of fire on the water as part of a show, oblivious to the mishap.

The large crowds at the venue on Friday seemed unperturbed, as the news had evidently not reached everyone. A honeymooning couple, Meharj and Eleena, who were taking photographs of each other, did not know anything was amiss and assumed the rides would start "maybe a little later".

The Global Village released several statements on Friday, stating the Funfair Zone was fully managed by and came under the full responsibility of the operator, Freij Entertainment. The statement said there would be further announcements once the investigations and results of the inquiry were completed, but it said it would provide full support in the investigations of the cause of the accident.


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