Guard crushed to death by lift

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A mortuary van carries away the body of the 37-year-old security guard who was crushed to death by a lift in Durbans Quadrant House. Photo: Siyanda Mayeza

Durban - A security guard was killed and two others escaped with injuries in separate lift accidents in the city on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old security guard had pried open a lift door to try and retrieve a document in the shaft in Quadrant House, Margaret Mncadi Avenue (Victoria Embankment).

He was crushed to death when the lift descended on him from the fifth floor.

A few blocks away, in Gillespie Street, a man and a one-year-old child were injured when they accidentally stepped into an open lift shaft.

ER24 spokesman Christo Venter said the 30-year-old man and the child, who was in his care on Wednesday afternoon, stepped into the shaft when the lift doors opened. The lift was stuck two floors down at the time.

“They fell about two floors down and landed on the roof of the elevator,” Venter said.

Bystanders rescued the child and man. He sustained multiple broken bones and was transported to Addington Hospital. The child was taken to hospital in a private car.

Department of Labour spokesman Nhlanhla Khumalo said they had been alerted to the tragedy in Margaret Mncadi Avenue by Grindrod, a shipping and freight logistics company for whom the man worked.

The guard, whose name is known to the Daily News, was based at the company’s main entrance in Quadrant House, a national monument.

An employee, who did not want to be named, said she had been outside when she heard a commotion and went to investigate. The grisly scene she saw would haunt her for the rest of her life, she said.

Khumalo said the man had been crushed to death. Paramedics and the SAPS Search and Rescue Unit had been called in.

Another source said it appeared that when the empty lift hurtled down towards the man, it had hit his lower torso and legs, crushing and trapping him. He had suffered internal injuries.

The lift company had to be called in to raise the lift cage manually for the man’s body to be retrieved.

Workers in the building were in shock and many had to be escorted out of the building.

Company secretary Cathie Lewis said the dead man’s family had yet to be notified. Grindrod would issue a statement once the family had been notified of the death.

Khumalo said the investigation could take up to three months to finalise.

“An inspector’s report will be forwarded to the chief labour inspector and the Director of Public Prosecutions,” he said.

Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said an inquest docket had been opened by Durban Central police.

Daily News

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