An elevator of a new Jamshedpur hotel, carrying members of the JMM’s campaign team, a police officer and a journalist, had a free fall from the height of five storeys — approximately 55ft — on Tuesday morning, minutes after party boss Shibu Soren used it to reach the lobby from his sixth-floor room.
All the eight occupants of the lift sustained injuries and four have been admitted to Tata Main Hospital (TMH). However, none of them is serious.
The management of Hotel Ramada, which opened in the elite Bistupur neighbourhood of the steel city this January, said officials of the elevator company and a technical team from Calcutta had been summoned to detect and fix the fault.
The free fall took place around 11.35am, barely 10 minutes after Soren senior left the hotel and his son and chief minister Hemant Soren came down to the lobby from the fifth floor in the second and adjoining elevator.
Bistupur OC Jitendra Kumar, who is among the injured, said eight of them had boarded the lift after the JMM supremo left.
“The door slid shut and we went crashing. We don’t know why it happened. The elevator mentioned a capacity of 10 people (680kg) and we were only eight. It is a matter of investigation,” he added.
Besides the police officer, the other occupants were the chief minister’s political adviser Himanshu Chowdhury, his personal assistant Pawan Kumar, chopper pilot Amit Kumar, JMM workers Ganesh Chaudhury, Raja Mandal and Mita Sarkar and journalist with a local channel Kaushal Singh.
Sources said Sarkar’s screams alerted another JMM worker, Ambika Banerjee, who was waiting for the lift on the same floor after the eight began descent. Banerjee rushed downstairs and opened the door of the elevator with the help of Hemant’s guards to rescue her party workers and the others.
The chief minister, who had checked in at the hotel late on Monday night with his father, ensured that the injured were rushed to TMH, where he later visited his personal assistant, party workers Sarkar and Chaudhury and the journalist. The others were discharged after first-aid.
“One of the elevators at Hotel Ramada where Guruji and I were staying while electioneering in Jamshedpur crashed. Some technical flaw led to the mishap. Fortunately, no one sustained serious injuries,” Hemant told The Telegraph.
On why the mishap didn’t get grievous, elevator expert Ajoy Adhikari said: “People inside the lift did not sustain critical injuries despite the free fall because of the buffer spring at the bottom, which acted as shock observer. Every modern elevator has this in-built system.”
City-based businessman Sanjiv Kapila, who has taken franchisee of the Ramada hospitality chain, was not available for his comments.
Hotel general manager Shailesh Terry admitted that one of the two elevators had caused the accident. “We do not know what exactly went wrong. Officials of Big Boss (the Calcutta-based elevator company) have been summoned, while a team of experts is coming from Calcutta to examine the snag and repair it,” he said.
Incidentally, this is the second time in a month that technical trouble hit the same elevator at the posh hotel. On March 26, it had halted midway during descent with four people trapped inside.
Have you ever been trapped in a hotel elevator?