Three Adults and a five-year-old narrowly escaped death on Wednesday evening after their free-falling elevator stopped at the seventh floor.
Corporate lawyer Archita N. Bhoge and husband Anurag, a director with a multinational, entered the lift on the 11th floor at the 18-storey Tower no 9 of the Sushant Estate high-rise residential complex around 7pm. A washerman and his son were already in the lift.
“As I pushed the button to the ground floor, the lift started falling freely, leaving us breathless. All of a sudden the lift stopped with a bang and a portion of the ceiling fell down, missing us,” Anurag said.
After they pressed the alarm button, a security guard managed to open the doors manually after a 15-minute struggle. “The lift had stopped half-way through the floor and we were still about four feet above the floor level. The lift doors closed just as the washerman and his son jumped off,” Archita said.
Her husband then forced the door open and dragged her out.
B.R. Yadav, facility manager of Sushant Estate, said supplier Johnson Lifts was responsible for the annual maintenance contract of its 10 lifts in the complex.
Engineer P. Chandil, who with his team was working on the lift on Thursday, said there was a problem with the wheel attached to the safety rope of the lift. But another Johnson mechanic Sunil Kumar said the investigation team had found a rat inside the Over Speed Governor (OSG) switch that controls the speed of the lift.
The couple has approached police to file a complaint of criminal negligence against the maintenance agency.
A senior police official, who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said they had visited the spot but were waiting for a written complaint from the couple, before they could proceed.
Maintenance agency Star Facility Management Limited director Rajat Biswas said: “Had the lift been faulty, the emergency brakes would not have halted it at the 7th floor. We have issues with a select group of residents who do not want to pay us the maintenance charges.”