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Dubai airport disaster probe

Laing O'Rourke flies out top brass to oversee investigation into Dubai airport tragedy

LAING O'Rourke has flown out a top management team to oversee an investigation into the Dubai airport disaster that killed five men working for its joint venture company Al-Naboodah Laing on Monday.

Deputy chairman Bernard Dempsey and director of health and safety Martin Doe were touring the site as Construction News went to press.

They will liaise with Dubai Airport Police and the Department of Safety and Security who have launched an investigation into the tragedy.

Five men were killed and 23 injured when a large section of reinforcement cage collapsed during the construction of a wall.

The 80 m-long,14 m-high and 4 m-wide buttress wall will form part of the new Terminal 3 building at Dubai International Airport, which is expected to handle 20 million passengers a year when it is completed.

An expert with the Health and Safety Executive said similar accidents have occurred in the UK.

He said: 'Care must always be taken when fixing large areas of reinforcing steel to ensure that temporary stability is assured during the fixing process.'

The injured were taken to two hospitals at Al Baraha and Rashid,19 were later released and the remaining four should be allowed home shortly.

At the time of the incident there were 53 men working in the area of the collapse including steel fixers, carpenters and labourers. All have now been accounted for following early reports that some workers may have been trapped.

The area of the disaster was initially cordoned off but work has now begun to remove the collapsed section.

A statement from Laing O'Rourke said: 'The incident area has been quarantined and a detailed assessment of the true extent and cause of the incident is currently under way with the investigating authorities.

'Naturally, every effort is being made to provide the maximum possible support for the injured and the families of those who have lost their lives.'

Laing's joint venture with Dubai firm Al-Naboodah Contracting won the £350 million job to build the new terminal in July last year. It is part of a £2.3 billion overhaul of Dubai airport, which is billed by client the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority as one of the fastest growing in the world.

Under the deal, Al-Naboodah Laing is building the new terminal as almost an exact replica of Terminal 2. It will comprise an 870,000 sq m terminal with up to 65 parking bays and 37 gates, a car park and a concourse built using 2 million cu. m of concrete. the injured and the families of those who have lost their lives.'

Laing's joint venture with Dubai firm AlNaboodah Contracting won the £350 million job in July last year.

It will comprise an 870,000 sq m terminal with up to 65 parking bays and 37 gates, a car park and a concourse built using 2 million cu m of concrete. It is due for completion in March 2007.

Al-Naboodah Contracting is sole main contractor on two other packages to build a tunnel under the existing concourse, a taxiway north of the two concourses and an extension to the airport apron.