Mumbai: Lift in flooded basement turns a watery grave

When two security guards on duty at a high-rise in Mumbai Central went to the basement of the building to start the water pump on Wednesday, little did they realise that the lift they would take back to the upper level would turn into a watery grave for them. Jameer Ahmed Sohanan, 32, and Shehzad Siddiqui Memon, 37, died after their lift got stuck and eventually flooded with rainwater. According to police, on Wednesday morning, Jameer and Shehzad had gone to the basement of Nathani Residency in Agripada to operate the water pump.

Since it had been raining continuously in Mumbai, water had already begun accumulating in the basement. Had the duo taken the staircase to reach the upper level, they would have lived but as luck would have it, they decided to take the lift. As they entered, the doors closed but the lift would not move and they found themselves locked in.

In emergencies like waterlogging, since there is a possibility of short circuit, by default, lift doors get locked. This is why safety experts stress on the use of staircases in emergencies, said an officer.

Trapped, the men pushed the lift alarm button, which is when the residents came to their rescue. But the rescuers were only able to open the outer door of the lift, the inner door refused to yield.

As the water level inside the basement started to rise, the fire brigade was called but by the time they arrived, the entire basement was flooded and even the residents struggling with the lift door were forced to leave. The firemen too were unable to enter."The firemen then entered the lift duct from the ground floor and cut open the lift from above, but it was too late, as water had engulfed the entire lift. The two security guards were taken to Nair Hospital, where the doctors declared them dead before admission, " said Sawalaram Agawane, senior inspector of Agripada police station.
"We have registered an accidental death report in the incident and our investigation is underway, " he added.

According to police, Jameer, a Kashmiri, lived in the building while Shehzad, who was unmarried, resided at Memon Wada in Dongri.

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Free Press Journal