FE Today Logo
Search date: 03-04-2018 Return to current date: Click here


Lift accident: A wakeup call

Nashir Uddin | April 03, 2018 00:00:00

Many in their busy city life were stunned following a recent lift accident in which the life of a tiny tot was brutally cut short. The heart-wrenching incident took place in an 18-storey building in the capital's Shantinagar area when the baby girl accompanied by her parents was filled with joy having just started to join her mom's birthday party at a nearby venue.

As the happy family moved on, pressing the lift button from their 14th floor apartment to reach the ground floor, the lift all of a sudden started to behave abnormally. The parents could somehow come out, but the nine-year-old couldn't. All her frenzied efforts went in vain as she was slammed between the doors of the faulty lift. Trapped, the ill-fated girl was later hauled as the lift moved up hysterically hitting the roof of the building.

Police said the tragedy occurred Thursday night when the family was getting off the lift in front of their flat. After her parents, the baby girl was getting out of the lift, but the door suddenly closed, trapping her inside and started moving up. The sensors didn't work, and she was pushed and squashed between the two sliding doors. The girl's head was hit by the roof when it was going up while her left hand and leg were stuck in the lift doors.

The enraged residents said the lifts (in all six for 180 flats) in their apartment building have been malfunctioning for quite some time, but no attention was paid to it despite repeated complaints. The lift's sensors are often out of order, the buttons remain dysfunctional and at times the lifts get stuck midway. What is more startling is that the only liftman remains busy shopping kitchen items for the residents. But the apartment's management body chief termed the bizarre incident 'merely an accident'. He said the lift was 7/8 years old, but it was serviced properly and that there was also a liftman.

Lift accidents are nothing new in Dhaka. Two ministers of the government were rescued in the past by cutting the lift after they got caught in an accident. Months back, a liftman died in Savar after he apparently fell down through the space of a malfunctioning lift from the fifth floor of a six-storey RMG factory building. Earlier in 2016, five people died and over 100 more were wounded in a deadly fire following lift accident at a 15-storey Uttara shopping mall. In 2015, another man died in Dhanmondi-15 area after the lift of a building collapsed. Yet another accident in 2014 at JL Sweaters near Tongi caused the death of one RMG worker. In another shocking incident, a poorly-maintained lift at Block-C of BSMMU hospital came tumbling down from the eighth floor - endangering lives of 13 passengers, including a pregnant woman and an infant.

Architects and city planners say regular and routine check of lift and escalator is a common phenomenon everywhere around the globe. But this basic practice is not followed here -- absence of this very practice is rather omnipresent, they lamented.

There is no regular monitoring and no certification system in our chaotic city life for routine servicing of utilities, including lifts. Nobody seems to be there to keep track of lift-related glitches and accidents. Hence, experts have also termed deaths from lift accidents as tantamount to killing by negligence.

Lift accident is a sign of sheer mismanagement in any building under any circumstances. Such accidents and subsequent casualties highlight the importance of developing a proven mechanism for effective day-to-day safety, service and utility monitoring and utility monitoring systems and thereby preventing such kind of calamities irrespective of residential and commercial structures. All concerned should put in their sincere efforts to maintain safety rules and standards to avert such catastrophes. Those responsible for maintenance of high-rise buildings should also perform their duties devotedly. We just can't afford to be struck again and again by these jaw-dropping incidents.

[email protected]

Share if you like