Just a month ago, the bangs would have been a welcome sight, as fireworks announced the opening of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. But the bang that 15 people heard recently trapped them in an elevator 124 floors about the ground floor of the Dubai building for a full 45 minutes before they were rescued.
It wasn't immediately what caused the loud noise or the elevator to stop, and officials of Emaar Properties, which owns the 162-story building, had no comment, other than to say that the building had been closed for maintenance.
The elevator in which the people were trapped was a dedicated elevator, that traveled from the ground floor directly to Floor 124. When help finally arrived, the rescuers had to pry open the doors and drop down a ladder because the elevator had stopped between floors. Once rescued, the frightened 15 were whisked back to the ground floor in another elevator, a service one. They had asked to use the stairs but were told that such a journey was inadvisable.
Building began in 2004, total costs exceeded $20 billion, and up to 12,000 people in total worked on the skyscraper.
The Burj Khalifa is more than 1,000 feet taller than the second-tallest building, Taipei 101, which stretches 1,667 feet high. Chicago's Willis Towers, at 1,451 feet, is America's tallest building. That building and the Burj Khalifa were designed by the same company, Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which has also designed some of the world's other tall buildings. Samsung C&T, of South Korea, was the primary builder of both Burj Khalifa and Taipei 101.