ABU DHABI // A power cut at Yas Mall left shops and hundreds of visitors in the dark for more than an hour on Tuesday night.
The lights and escalators suddenly stopped working at around 7pm before power was restored at about 8.45pm.
Police were sent to the mall to ensure the safety of shoppers.
Visitors used light from their mobile phones to illuminate their way in the dark.
“It was quite an eerie scene,” said Manj Marva, a 43-year-old British tourist. “I was at the Fun Works area with my two daughters and they had just got off one of the rides when all of a sudden the lights went off and everything just stopped.”
Mr Marva, who is in the UAE for a family vacation during Christmas, praised the efforts of the staff at the children’s attraction.
“Some of the rides go upside down and it was fortunate that no one was stuck in that position,” he said. “There is a ride that [elevates] people up 15 feet [in the air] and they got stuck, but the staff member climbed up and brought them down.”
His family initally thought the power cut would not last long but they eventually decided to leave.
“I would say there were about 400 to 500 people in the area we were at, and you could see many of them using the lights on their mobile phones to make their way around,” said Mr Marva.
Most of the shops at this point were not allowing people inside, he said. “We made our way towards the exit near Ferrari World and we could see police in the area,” he added.
Police officers, some of whom were wearing high-visibility vests, were at the scene and a helicopter was flying above with its spotlight on the mall at about 8.30pm, said Mr Marva.
“We tried to go back inside to get a taxi from a different part of the mall, but the armed police said we weren’t allowed to go back in,” he said.
His family eventually managed to get a taxi back to their hotel.
Tara Miller, an Australian resident of Abu Dhabi, said she saw police cars and emergency services vehicles at the top level of the mall’s car park when she arrived with her husband.
“When walking into the mall we could see that the escalators were not working,” she said.
Shopkeepers prevented people from coming in although there were lighting in parts of the lower level and further inside the mall, she said.
“We turned back to find the exit where our car was parked and they had blocked it by lowering thick blinds,” she said.
“It felt like we were being blocked in,” she said. “So my husband and I ran down the escalators and out into the car park. I don’t scare easily but that is an experience I never wish to have again,” she said.
Abu Dhabi Police and Yas Mall were not available for comment.
Source: UAE News