Woman (70) tells of ordeal in jammed lift in A.S. Chetty Building

2009-09-01 00:00

A 70-YEAR-OLD woman was among three people who were trapped in a lift at the A.S. Chetty municipal building yesterday afternoon.

Thobile Ngubane (70), who spoke to The Witness in an ER24 ambulance after being stabilised with oxygen, said she suffers from high blood pressure and described the incident as “horrible”.

Ngubane came with her 43-year-old son-in-law from Mpophomeni to get forms for tenders on the fifth floor of the building.

However, shortly after they stepped into the lift on their way to the ground floor, they heard a big bang followed by a burning smell.

“It felt like I was suffocating. I was really scared. My chest felt like it was going to burst. I really don’t wish that upon anyone.”

Vuyiswa Mabida (24), who had travelled from Tamboville near Howick, said she was also returning from collecting forms for her boss from the fifth floor.

And as soon as the lift doors closed, the lift started moving up and down from the fifth floor to the basement several times.

“We all lost our bearings and fell. When it eventually stopped, it started swaying from side to side and it felt like eternity in there,” said Mabida, who had the older woman’s head on her lap, trying to comfort her, while speaking to The Witness.

ER24’s Craig Egan said the Msunduzi Fire Department, along with a technician from the lift company, conducted the rescue and paramedics stood by to give medical treatment.

He said the victims were trapped just under an hour and were treated for claustrophobia, anxiety and muscle cramps. All three were taken to hospital for check-ups.

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