Photographer Rappels Down Dubai Hotel During Blaze

He was on the 48th floor.

ByABC News
January 1, 2016, 12:47 PM

— -- Less than three hours before the clock struck midnight in Dubai, flames engulfed the city's luxurious Address Downtown Hotel, mere blocks from where a spectacle of lights and fireworks was scheduled. As spectators in Dubai and all over the the world watched the flames overtake the hotel, a Filipino photographer stuck on the hotel's 48th floor struggled to make his way down. He caught his dramatic escape on a GoPro camera.

Dennis Borja Mallari was at the Address Hotel to capture Dubai's glitzy New Year celebrations. When the fire broke out on the hotel's 20th floor, the photographer grabbed a cable attached to a fixed crane and rappelled down to a small ledge outside his balcony, shielding himself from the smoke. Borja told ABC News he was holding the cable with his left hand and taking photos and video with his right.

Borja was marooned on that ledge for an hour until civil defense personnel came to his rescue.

The GoPro videos, which Borja posted on his Facebook page, show fiery debris falling to the streets. Audio of his conversation with first responders was also caught on camera.

Dubai officials said the fire originated on the 20th floor of the hotel and spread from there, but the cause of the fire is still unknown. Internal fire extinguishers prevented the inferno from spreading inside the building as guests evacuated its 63 floors, the government said.

Sixteen people were injured in the fire. All hotel guests were relocated.