Partygoers fall to their deaths after lift doors 'spring open'

Click to follow

An investigation was under way yesterday into how two men leaving a flat after a late-night party plummeted 150 feet down a lift shaft to their deaths.

An investigation was under way yesterday into how two men leaving a flat after a late-night party plummeted 150 feet down a lift shaft to their deaths.

Police were trying to establish whether the men, in their twenties, had been fighting when they fell against the lift doors, which appeared to have given way under their weight.

The two men were among 13 people at the 15th-floor tower block flat in the Shirley district of Southampton. They left the party on Saturday morning. Their bodies were discovered by firefighters at the bottom of the lift shaft minutes later at about 5.40am. They had died instantly. Hampshire police spent yesterday interviewing people who had been at the party in the Sixties block, although officers said initial investigations indicated that no one else was involved.

The group had gone to the flat after leaving a nightclub to have what police described as an "impromptu party".

The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation amid reports that residents had complained about the safety of the lift.

Detective Inspector Tom Tobin of Hampshire police said: "It may have been the result of a fight, but I want to stress it could also be high jinks that led to an awfully tragic accident."

He added: "The doors seem to have sprung open with the force of the two men. We don't know if there is a fault with the lift, but there may be a perfectly logical reason for the doors to open."

It is understood that engineers from Southampton City Council, which owns and maintains the block, were called in to examine the lifts after residents had raised safety concerns.

The dead men, aged 25 and 27, have yet to be identified by police. Both lived in the Shirley area of the city.

One woman, who lives in the block, said: "My daughter was at the party and a lot of people are in a terrible state, just sitting around crying. The lift doors should never have opened, they are just not designed to do that."

A spokesman for Southampton City Council said: "We are providing the police with all the information they need."

Comments