Joburg elevator crash: Lift was serviced in February this year - property owners

2019-06-24 21:39
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)

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The elevator in which a female tenant was killed on Sunday was serviced in February, according to the company that owns the 26-storey building in Doornfontein, Johannesburg.

Africa Housing Company spokesperson Nomfundo Mwelase said the six lifts in the high-rise complex on 120 End Street 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.

On Sunday morning, a female tenant, who has not been named, and two men were inside the lift when one of the elevator cables allegedly snapped and shot the lift up to the 26th floor.

News24 earlier reported that the three were then trapped inside the lift. The men managed to escape, with one crawling through a gap between the top of the interior door and bottom of the lift door.

ER24 paramedics attempted to stabilise the badly injured woman. However, access was limited because the lift was unstable.

Mwelase said a male survivor was seen by doctors and was now recovering at home.

Six lifts were ferrying tenants

Mwelase said the six lifts have been regularly carrying tenants between floors, with three servicing floors 1 to 14 and the other three, floors 14 to 26.

"Complaints in the past have been in respect of minor operational occurrences common with lifts and there has never been an incident like this before.

"The lifts are maintained under a comprehensive maintenance contract by the installer. This maintenance contract has both prescribed scheduled maintenance in addition to corrective maintenance.

"The prescribed scheduled maintenance includes monthly checks, while the corrective maintenance is undertaken as frequently as required," she said.

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

Mwelase could not disclose the name of the dead woman, claiming that her family did not want it publicised.

"At this stage, it is unclear exactly what happened, and we have appointed an independent lift consultant to conduct an in-depth investigation.

"The consultant will work with the Department of Labour and the company that supplies, installs and maintains the elevators on a monthly basis to determine the nature and cause of the accident.

"The use of the elevator and the other two lifts servicing the high-rise section of the building have been suspended until further notice. As a precautionary measure, the remaining lifts to the low-rise section of the building will also be tested to ensure that it's safe to use," said Mwelase.

'This could have happened to anyone'

The company said it was offering counselling and would continue to liaise with relatives and friends of the dead tenant.

A tenant, who did not want to be identified, said the incident had left him shocked.

"I was not around when it happened. I was scared when I heard the news. This could have happened to anyone," he added.

Former tenant Bea Campbell-Cloete told News24 on Sunday that: "The lift has been a constant problem there. It stops mid-floor.

"It would get stuck and then start moving again. It would stop and it would be in the middle of two floors. It would also get stuck in the basement. We told them to fix the lifts, saying it's going to cause a problem."

Campbell-Cloete who rented an apartment on the 26th floor was in the process of moving out on the day of the incident.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  accidents
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