Has anybody ever been stuck in a lift

Bletchleyite

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I am very reluctant to use them - only if no other option. Glass sided ones facing out into a shopping centre are OK, as it is likely there will be phone signal and/or the ability to attract attention. However enclosed lifts are in my opinion a risk. In risk management, there are two dimensions. One is the likelihood of the event. The other is the severity of outcome. Trapped in a lift is low likelihood but high severity. Enclosed lifts are typically a metal box, which will act as an insulator against phone signal, therefore it is very unlikely a mobile phone will work. So, if the lift intercom fails, in the words of Captain Mainwaring, "We're doomed, we're doomed". I was going to ask if anyone has experience of the intercom failing, but alas, they probably wouldn't be here to tell us.

The severity is extremely low unless you are diabetic or require medication you don't have with you. It'd be no fun, but humans can do without water for 3 days, and thus one could be trapped in a lift for 3 days without coming to great harm, it'd just be incredibly boring and rather smelly once toilet use became necessary. Unless you were mucking about in abandoned buildings the chance of a stuck lift not being noticed for 3 days is basically zero.

The high severity comes from no way of extricating yourself, and a reliance on others, who may not be readily contactable.

But that's not high severity. Unless you had diabetes, you would not die even if trapped for a number of days.

High severity, low likelihood is something like a fatal plane or train crash.

If you're claustrophobic, as it sounds like you might be, it'd be very unpleasant, but you'd still not die nor be seriously injured.

I have to say I disagree with that. I've never heard of someone dying simply of being trapped in a lift - to say being trapped in a lift has a high severety is a little over the top, unless the building it's in happens to be on fire...

That of course being the reason why you are told not to use the lifts in a building on fire.
 
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Gloster

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There was a case in the US (Louisiana?) where a lift failed and then did what it should do in such cases: descend gently to the bottom of the shaft. Unfortunately, the failure was due to the basement being flooded and there was a young woman in the lift: she did not survive.

(Incidentally, it was Private Frazer who used to say,”We’re doomed.”)
 

Bletchleyite

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Not quite the full three days, but close. Very much a special case though.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47037199

I think the longest you'll typically get is a weekend, because many office buildings are closed for that time. Broken lifts would get reported as soon as anyone returned to work on the Monday. Perhaps 4 days if it was Easter, but then we are getting very niche indeed.

As I said it'd be horribly boring (I guess the ideal would be to try to sleep the time away) but not life-threatening.
 

PeterY

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Yes, I've been stuck. It was at Watford general hospital and it took about half an hours to be rescued. Luckily the lift was quite large and there was only me and another lady inside. What surprised me, was just how hot it got inside.

I try not to use them, most of the time and use the stairs instead.
 

Killingworth

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In the early 60s in a Scarborough sea front hotel a young lad woke early and went down to the beach before breakfast. The lift looked inviting, he opened and closed the door and pressed the button for the ground floor. It set off but stopped between floors, the ceiling about 6 inches above a floor.

Nearly an hour later the lift descended to the ground floor. In the meantime conversations outside were critical of children in lifts - although how age made a difference wasn't entirely clear. Other children were worried that the occupant might starve, but reassured that they'd prize it open and get food through the 6 inch gap.

The occupant didn't panic and was quite resigned to his situation, however his dad was furious that he'd been embarrassed having to explain his son was the one in there. He didn't have a good day after that! A sign went on the lift to say not to be used by under 16s. Very unfair. Otis to blame!

I now use stairs for better exercise, not fear of lifts.
 

TravelDream

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My old apartment building (not the UK) had lifts from the 80s which I am sure should have been condemned.
They jerked up and down, would generally stop several inches above/ below the actual floor and used to break down with some regularity. On the plus, they got to the 20th floor pretty rapidly.
Luckily I never got trapped, but a few people in the building did.
 
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Not personally, but at an office block I worked in the fire brigade had to be called out to free someone trapped in a lift which had broken down. When they finally got the door open she'd collapsed (after a panic attack, I think) and had to be given oxygen. She'd been stuck in it for something like 30 minutes.
 

JohnMcL7

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A building I worked in had a chronically unreliable lift and would frequently fail so I became very used to getting stuck in it although as the building was central it usually didn't take long for the lift engineer to come out and sort it. I needed to use it to move equipment but when I'd arranged to meet with someone, a train to catch or similar I'd put the items into the lift, press the correct floor then race up/down the stairs to catch it opening.
 

Milo T.K

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I got stuck recently at tottenham hale station platform 4 lift when 1 side of the doors didnt open. Other time was when I was stuck in a hotel in an Otis Gen2 lift. And I'm my flat lifts
 

FOH

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I ended up on my own in one taking me to the top floor uncommanded and then just waiting there. Door open button didn't work so I pressed the alarm button. A rather disconcerting response "the number you have dialled has not been recognised..."
Fortunately the doors opened of their own accord maybe a minute or two later
 

Bald Rick

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Seeing this thread again - I routinely have dreams about lifts going wrong, either when I’m in them (them not stopping at the correct floor and I’m unable to leave it) or waiting for them (they never arrive when I’m in a hurry). I wonder what that is all about!
 

gswindale

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I have a vague memory of getting stuck in a lift at the multi storey car park in Cannock (I think) when I was quite young (although my mother doesn't remember).

A couple of years ago, we had a planned fire alarm at work and the people using the lift were stuck in there for a short while - rather than descending to the floor below and doors opening as designed, it simply stopped where it was!
 

S&CLER

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I haven't been stuck in one myself, but it happened to another resident in our block a few years ago. The outcome was that we had to pay £30,000 at least, if I recall, split between our 8 flats to have the lift reconditioned. One of the freeholders of the building wanted to save money by decommissioning it altogether but the residents of the upper (2nd and 3rd) floors objected, and we all decided that it would depreciate our properties. I'm on the first floor and never use the lift except on rare occasions when I have something bulky to bring up.
 

James H

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The Anglo-Catholic church my family was connected with in my childhood had a modern (c1992) parish centre next door, with a lift to the meeting rooms on the upper floors.

If you opened the compartment in the lift that was designed to accommodate an emergency phone handset, you would find none was installed, but instead you would be confronted by a statue of the Virgin Mary as a devotional aid to your prayers for rapid rescue.
 

PG

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I ended up on my own in one taking me to the top floor uncommanded and then just waiting there. Door open button didn't work so I pressed the alarm button. A rather disconcerting response "the number you have dialled has not been recognised..."
Fortunately the doors opened of their own accord maybe a minute or two later
These days it wouldn't surprise me if went along the lines of "your call is very important to us, please wait for the next available operator..."
Maybe with a couple of minutes of elevator music before repeating the message :lol:
 

talltim

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Not a case of a broken down lift, but back in the mid-80s a couple of colleagues in the offices of the crane factory where I worked at Loughborough found themselves stuck in a lift they wished they hadn't been in.

In the rush out at the end of an afternoon with near perfect timing they just managed to beat the closing doors as the lift set off downwards. Then with just as perfect timing the person already in the lift released a particularly raucous burst of flatulance setting them clawing at the doors vainly hoping to abort their journey.

Not at all like the famous Peter Sellers lift sketch, there was never any doubt as to the culprit!
You may wonder how I'm able to tell such a story. I couldn't possibly comment.
Mine is a fart in a lift anecdote too.
In my teens my mate and I were in a car park lift. I bounced up and down and it stopped. We pushed the alarm and the security office told us they’d be with us shortly. I then proceeded with some chemical warfare and my friend jokingly pretended to panic about getting out. Little did we know that the alarm line was still open and the security office thought the panicle was real!
 

ATW Alex 101

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I haven’t ever been stuck in a lift, but I was trained on how to release doors if necessary when I was a maintenance manager at a nursing home.

In 1999, in New York, This poor guy was stuck for 41 hours inside a lift.


Has anyone been over the top, or under the bottom, of a Paternoster?
Doing so is usually forbidden as it may cause the whole thing to imbalance, but check This cool video out though. A brief explanation about Paternoster lifts including a ‘ride’ over the top.
 

Tomnick

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Doing so is usually forbidden as it may cause the whole thing to imbalance, but check This cool video out though. A brief explanation about Paternoster lifts including a ‘ride’ over the top.
I'd understood that the main risk is that, if the lift breaks down with someone trapped in a car going over the top, it would be very difficult indeed to extract them. I can't see how it'd cause any sort of significant imbalance, given that it's quite possible for it to be legitimately loaded in a very unbalanced fashion.

(We went to Sheffield specially to see the Paternoster there a few years ago, and did indeed go over the top and under the bottom - of course!)
 

Chipsetburden

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No, never actually been stuck in one, although some I've rode have been incredibly slow, leading me to fear it might get stuck. I've witnessed one getting stuck at college, I could hear the shouts of several people coming through the doors as I was about to press the button for the lift.
 

Mikey C

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Yes, in the Barbican Centre over 30 years ago ( the top of Frobisher Crescent which at the time was being used by my University). Must have been stuck for half an hour.

It got stuck 3 feet above the penultimate floor, the firemen wedged it open and I was able to jump out. They were there to make sure I didn't fall backwards, as if I had fallen down the lift shaft from level 13, I wouldn't be here today!
 

eMeS

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Has anyone been over the top, or under the bottom, of a Paternoster?
Yes - decades ago. My employer's building had one.
The jokers went into a hand-stand when out of view.

Domestic vertical lift failure
My elderly cousin suffering from arthritis was treated to a vertical lift by her builder husband. It looked very smart in their semi !
Sadly, after he died, she got stranded in it between floors, and there was no one in the house to rescue her. I wasn't told how long she was stuck, nor what the fault was.
 

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