Joburg elevator crash: 'I'm dying, I'm dying!' - eyewitness recalls resident's chilling cries

2019-06-26 12:32
120 End Street high-rise building in Doornfontein in Johannesburg, where  a lift claimed the life of a tenant.

120 End Street high-rise building in Doornfontein in Johannesburg, where a lift claimed the life of a tenant. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

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A resident in the Johannesburg building, where a woman died on Sunday after an incident in a lift, says the ordeal has left him in pain and that he is unable to work.

Zwelethu Mambane entered the elevator on the 14th floor at the 120 End Street high-rise building in Doornfontein on Sunday afternoon on his way to get food from a store downstairs. He recalled that the woman, who has not been named, was already in the elevator when he entered. 

"When we got to the ground floor, the doors opened and, before we could get out, the lift shot up while the doors were opened and came to a stop on the 26th floor," Mambane said.

READ MORE: 'We told them to fix the lifts', says resident after woman dies

Mambane said he and the woman collapsed and after a couple of minutes, after realising what had happened, he noticed the woman was bleeding and screaming: "I'm dying, I'm dying!" 

The woman, believed to be in her 40s, later succumbed to her injuries after she became trapped in the lift.

elevator death graphic


'I was in so much pain'

"I saw a small opening and I crawled free through the gap between the top of the interior door and bottom of the lift door. From there, I could see the ground floor. I was in so much pain," he added, saying that at that point, the woman was still screaming.

Mambane said according to his estimation, they waited for about an hour and 20 minutes for assistance. 

The advertising and PR businessman's injuries, including some to his head, chest, back and feet, meant he had to put his work on hold.

READ MORE: Lift was serviced in February this year - property owners

"Even as I speak to you now, I'm at home, recovering. I can't move with the ease I'm used to, and my wife has been taking care of me."

According to Mambane, building management has offered counselling services to residents.

News24 previously reported that one resident of two years at the building said the lifts were a constant problem in the building for a long period of time.

"It would also get stuck in the basement. We told them to fix the lifts, saying it's going to cause a problem," Bea Campbell-Cloete said. 

But on Monday, Africa Housing Company spokesperson Nomfundo Mwelase told News24 that the six lifts in the high-rise complex always underwent a 24-month inspection by an independent specialist lift consultant, as required by the Department of Labour.

"The last safety inspection was undertaken in February and certified as being fully compliant," she added.

Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  accidents
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