Delhi’s Vikaspuri tragedy: Mom did not know 9-yr-old was in lift

Mar 29, 2023 04:36 AM IST

A police team reached the hospital and received the boy’s medico legal certificate which stated that he had suffered “crush injury in a lift”.

A nine-year-old boy died after he got stuck in between the elevator and the shaft of a four-storey residential building in west Delhi’s Vikaspuri, police officers aware of the incident said on Wednesday.

The residential building in west Delhi’s Vikaspuri. (HT Photo)
The residential building in west Delhi’s Vikaspuri. (HT Photo)

Officers associated with the case said the incident occurred on Friday morning, when the boy, identified as Ashish (single name), was accompanying his mother Rekha — the local washerwoman — while she collected clothes from houses in the building. Rekha took the stairs to go to each house, but Ashish decided to take the elevator and got stuck.

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The lift where the boy was stuck. (HT Photo)
The lift where the boy was stuck. (HT Photo)

Ashish’ father Ramesh said, “My wife went to the first, second and third floors of the building using the staircase, collected clothes, and returned to our shop. She asked me about our son. I told her he had followed her to the building. She and her mother rushed to the building and searched for him. They peeped inside the lift from a small glass panel in the lift’s safety wooden door and found his legs dangling. They immediately raised an alarm and informed families living on the upper floors.”

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Deputy commissioner of police (west) Ghanshyam Bansal said, “Prime facie, it appears that the elevator may have malfunctioned due to a technical issue. It started moving upward — probably while the boy was alighting it on the ground floor — before the collapsible gate closed. The boy may have been caught between the elevator and the shaft while the elevator moved upward.”

Officers said the boy remained trapped for nearly half an hour, even as local residents, and later an expert from the private company given the annual maintenance contract to maintain the elevator, conducted rescue efforts. After he was extracted from the shaft, he was rushed to hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

A woman living on the third floor of the building said that her family members rushed to rescue the child. “We tried to rescue the boy but failed. The elevator maintenance agency was informed about the incident. An expert arrived 15 minutes later and rescued the boy. I rushed him to the hospital in my car along with his mother and grandmother. Unfortunately, he could not be saved,” the woman said, declining to be named.

According to the first information report (FIR), the police were informed at around 12.30 pm about the death of the boy. A police team reached the hospital and received the boy’s medico-legal certificate, which stated that he had suffered “crush injury in a lift”.

A case of negligent conduct with respect to machinery and death by negligence was registered against unknown persons under sections 287 and 304A of Indian Penal Code at the Vikaspuri police station, the police said.

A four-member team of the Delhi government’s labour department, led by an inspector, inspected the elevator on Tuesday. The team also spoke to residents of the building, including the woman who helped in the rescue operations.

The official leading the team, declining to be named, said, “We are still in the process of completing the inspection and examination of the lift. If required, we may visit the incident spot again. Accordingly, we will prepare our report and submit it to the concerned authorities for further action.”

Bansal said, “The exact sequence of events leading to death can be ascertained only when the mechanical inspection of the elevator, which is being conducted by experts, is concluded and they submit their report, detailing if there was any fault in the elevator that led to the boy’s death.

The DCP said a private agency was hired for the annual maintenance of the elevator, and the last maintenance work was carried out around six months ago.

The police said they were checking documents related to the elevator, including its validity and licence.

Meanwhile, Ashish’s family — originally from Rajasthan’s Alwar district, but living in west Delhi’s Sitapur for the past 25 years — has been shattered by the tragedy.

“My son was recently promoted to class 4, and he was very happy about it. His classes were to resume in the first week of April. Despite our low income, we gave our best for his education. We wanted him to become a government officer,” said Ramesh.

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    Karn Pratap Singh has been writing on crime, policing, and issues of safety in Delhi for almost a decade. He covers high-intensity spot news, including terror strikes, serial blasts and security threats in the national capital.

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