The daily power outage in Honiara has almost cost the lives of a couple today who were locked in one of the lifts at the Anthony Saru Building for two agonizing hours.
The brutal experience was indescribable by the couple who expressed their bitterness at the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (NPF) management for the unreliability of one of its lift, which failed to open when the power went out today.
Chris Indu and his wife (known) were going up the lift to the fourth flour (wife’s office) of the six-storey Anthony Saru Building when the power went off as part of Solomon Power’s load-shed schedule around 12noon.
“The lift stopped – then dropped to the ground floor,” the husband and wife recalled when talking to SBMOnline this afternoon.
At the ground floor they tried to open the lift but it failed to open.
“We tried to open and we could hear people trying to help us from the outside but the lift never opened,” said Chris.
This magazine was told that usually when the power goes out, the lift normally opens but it was not case today. The building’s generator is said to be down as well.
As time went past and news of the two being trapped in the lift, Solomon Power turned on the power but attempts to rescue the couple failed, because the lift could not be opened.
“It was a very bad feeling. I had to sleep in the lift and breathing was hard as there was no fresh air,” said the husband.
“We prayed and hoped the lift could be opened so that we could get out but nearly two hours nothing happened,” said the couple.
The wife had managed to call for help but as they stayed on in the lift longer, there was no network and that limited their ability to reach out for assistance.
Chris appeared to be the most affected and was desperate for water.
He got help from one of his relatives outside who had to join three straws together to ensure that it was long enough enabling him to drink from a water bottle connected from outside.
“It helped me a lot,” recalled Chris.
“I was the most affected I think without my wife I would be in trouble as I was struggling to survive in the lift for the two hours,” he told SBMOnline.
It was around 2pm that fire fighters arrived and managed to open the lift.
“When I saw the shoe of the firefighters I said yes we would get out soon,” recalled a relieved Chris. He added: “And yes we did.”
Recalling their ordeal, the couple said it was not a very good experience, which others should not experience.
They said if the lift had more than two people then it could have a serious effect on them because the two hours was very long under extreme tough conditions.
After the two hours ordeal, Chris said he is considering taking legal action against NPF for its defective lift, which almost cost their lives.