Photographer who clung to balcony to escape New Year's Eve Dubai fire posts videos of ordeal

A photographer kept his camera rolling as he hung from a rope from the 48th floor of a luxury hotel in Dubai as it burned.
A photographer kept his camera rolling as he hung from a rope from the 48th floor of a luxury hotel in Dubai as it burned.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

Photographer Dennis Mallari, who hung by a rope from the 48th floor of a luxury hotel in Dubai as it burned on New Year's Eve, kept his camera rolling even while in mortal danger.

Mr Mallari, a Filipino working for the Al Bayan newspaper, posted videos and photos of his perilous ordeal and the rescue on Facebook and YouTube.

On New Year's Eve, he stood on the tiny sill of a balcony in Dubai's luxury The Address Downtown hotel, attached by a rope to a window-cleaning platform, AFP reported on Jan 1.

In a shaky 3min 10sec-long video he posted on Facebook on Jan 1, viewers can see the dizzying height he was at and hear the strong winds buffeting.

He hung on there for more than half an hour, AFP reported.

The lensman put together footage for a second 1min 28sec YouTube video which showed how he slung himself over the edge of the balcony, and his subsequent rescue.

He captioned it "My New Year's Eve at the The Address Hotel Dubai, 31 December 2015".

Thick smoke and tongues of flames were seen in the video.

More details of his rescue also emerged from an interview he gave to Gulf News.

The photographer, who was formerly with Gulf News, was out on the balcony of hotel, which is near the Burj Khalifa, to take photos of the New Year's Eve fireworks display for the Al Bayan newspaper when a fire erupted in the hotel below them.

The photographer told Gulf News that he was nearly choked by thick smoke inside the building.

He tried to go down the stairs at first, but was worried he would suffocate, so he went back and tried to find a way out.

That was how he ended up tying a rope from himself to a window-cleaning platform and hanging off the balcony.

He called and texted friends and colleagues for help, and even posted on Facebook, that he was on the 48th floor.

Mr Ahmad Ramzan, a former colleague from Gulf News, sought help from the Dubai civil defence force.

"When I learnt that Dennis was stuck on the 48th floor, I went crazy," Mr Ramzan told Gulf News.

Rescue teams were sent to the 48th floor twice.

But Mr Mallari could not be found, Gulf News reported.

By then, the hotel had been evacuated. It was only on their third try that they found Mr Mallari.

"Thanks to the belt, cable wire, civil defence, friends and God," Mr Mallari posted on Facebook.

The authorities are still investigating the cause and the hotel is closed indefinitely. There were no fatalities at the flagship property, Reuters reported.