Tourists hurt as Tower Bridge lift plunges to the ground
PUBLISHED: 20:08 11 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:21 05 October 2010
SIX people were being treated in hospital tonight after the freak lunchtime accident in which a lift carrying 15 tourists up Tower Bridge crashed to the ground. The lift operator broke his leg and five tourists had leg and ankle injuries when the car plunged down the shaft in the north tower
SIX people were still being treated in hospital tonight after the freak lunchtime accident in which a lift carrying 15 tourists up Tower Bridge crashed to the ground.
The lift operator broke his leg and five tourists had leg and ankle injuries when the lift car plunged down the shaft in the north tower soon after beginning its ascent.
It suddenly shuddered to a halt 10ft up, then went into free fall’ with the terrified passengers trapped inside.
But they had a miracle escape, lucky that it didn’t happen a few seconds later when the lift would have been at the top of the shaft—120ft above street level.
The London ambulance service rushed two quick response’ medical teams to the scene, followed by its specialist hazard’ unit and a fleet of ambulances.
The paramedics treated the two women and four men at the bridge before ambulances took them to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
Police closed the bridge to traffic for nearly two hours during the rescue operation following the 1.10pm accident. Emergency fire crews were brought in from Whitechapel and Bethnal Green fire-stations to prop up the lift while ambulance crews rescued those inside the stricken lift car.
“We don’t know why the lift suddenly faltered,” a Corporation of London official at the scene told the East London Advertiser.
“The doors opened automatically when it hit the bottom of the shaft and we managed to get the people out quickly. Ten tourists walked away unharmed.”
The lift, which can carry up to 40 passengers, was taking the tourists from the ticket office at street level up to the high-level walkway connecting the two towers 150ft above the Thames when it crashed. A full investigation is now under way by the Health & Safety Executive.
The iconic cantilever Tower Bridge, opened in 1894, is one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions, sitting alongside the historic Tower of London.
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