Retail bosses apologise to a dozen traumatised shoppers after they were trapped in lift and ‘shunted up and down more than 25 times’
- Shoppers were trapped in a ‘plunging’ lift in St David’s Shopping Centre, Cardiff
- The lift’s ‘screaming and sweating’ occupants sat on the floor to avoid injury
- Those trapped say they only received a bottle of water and offer of free parking
More than a dozen people were trapped in lift which kept ‘plunging down’ several floors at a time, for nearly an hour.
The scene on Saturday night at St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff was described as ‘something from a horror film’, as the lift travelled up and down ‘more than 25 times’.
The lift’s occupants were found ‘screaming, panicking and sweating’ as they sat on the floor to avoid any serious injuries. It has been claimed to have lasted around 40 minutes.
A young girl had a panic attack and was left crying and shaking, while another woman described it as “an absolute horrific and life changing experience”.
Taris Chapman, 19, and her friends Amy Hitchins, Wallis Owen and Olivia Oldham were all stuck in the lift at St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff
Firefighters from South Wales Fire and Resuce Service were called to the scene, and St David’s has since apologised to those involved.
But those who were trapped say they only received a bottle of water and an offer of free parking as a result of the ordeal.
Four people involved in the incident on Saturday night, included Taris Chapman, 19, and her friends Amy Hitchins, Wallis Owen and Olivia Oldham, who were making their way back to their car after a meal at TGI Fridays.
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The girls, who are all from the Rhondda, posted about the frightening experience to Facebook, in a bid to warn others about how dangerous lifts can be.
Miss Chapman wrote: Myself, three of my friends and nine other people were in the lift in St David’s shopping centre this evening when it stopped working.
‘This resulted in 40 minutes of the lift going to the top floor and just plunging us down seven floors with force, whilst jolting.
‘Not to mention, how frightening it was as we couldn’t get hold of the of the help line 10 minutes into the lift breaking.
The scene on Saturday night was described as ‘something from a horror film’, as the lift travelled up and down ‘more than 25 times’
‘When we did manage to get hold of them, the speaker kept cutting off and due to no signal we couldn’t even get through to the emergency services.
‘Around 20 minutes later, the fire service came and helped us get out.
‘This was the most terrifying thing we have experienced and want to warn others as it was very distressing.’
Miss Chapman and her friends said the experience was like something from a horror film.
‘It felt like there was no control over the lift,’ she added.
‘Everyone was screaming and panicking.
‘It felt like the cord that holds the lift wasn’t working properly.’
The girls said Miss Oldham, who was already ‘petrified’ of lifts, was left having a panic attack and was crying and shaking throughout the ordeal.
Megan Jones, 19, and her mother Alyson Jones, 53, from Aberdare, were also in the plunging lift
They described how the lift hit the top floor, before jolting and dropping back to the bottom – but the doors would not open.
‘We were all crying and decided to sit on the floor in case it hit the bottom hard,’ Miss Chapman said.
‘It honestly felt like we were never going to get out.
‘We couldn’t get through [to emergency staff] and when we did we just couldn’t understand what was being said.
‘It was boiling in there. Everyone was sat down, panicking and sweating.
‘We had no drinks and it felt like there was no air in there.’
Another two people stuck in the lift on Saturday, was Megan Jones, 19, and her mother Alyson Jones, 53, from Aberdare, south Wales.
Miss Jones, described the ordeal as ‘an absolute horrific and life changing experience’.
She said: ‘Not being able to contact anyone whilst we were being thrown up and down with no way of stopping the lift was honestly the worst experience of my life.
‘We went down to the first floor and then right up to the top.
‘It all happened so fast. We hit the top and came down with a judder. We must have gone up and down continuously around 25 to 30 times.
‘Everyone was screaming. It was the worst experience of my life.’
Miss Jones compared the ‘horrific experience’ to the Tower of Terror – a Disneyland ride which includes sudden drops within a dark, enclosed space.
‘If there were any more people, there would have been some serious injuries,’ Miss Jones added.
‘We were all sat on the floor to keep safe.’
Steven Madeley, General Manager for St David’s said: ‘We can confirm there was a fault with a lift in the centre Saturday evening, and the Fire Service attended in line with our usual protocol.
‘We’d like to apologise to those affected and thank them for their patience. We will be liaising with those customers directly.
‘We would like to reassure that the incident was a fault, and there was no risk or danger to those involved.’
A spokesman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed a crew from Cardiff Central were called to St David’s Shopping centre at around 6.57pm.
A spokesman said: ‘We obtained the lift keys and the people inside were released safely.’
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