A 54-year-old Swiss man died this morning after he was trapped in the shaft of a malfunctioning elevator at his hotel in Phuket, The Phuket News reported.
The alarm was raised by a receptionist of Baan Paradise Hotel who told police later she had heard a loud thud from the lift and a voice calling for help.
She called other hotel staff who found a flashing light indicating the lift was stuck on the third floor, but they were unable to open the lift doors.
When a mechanic and rescue volunteers finally opened the doors, the tourist was found jammed, head-down, between the lift car and the wall of the lift shaft. He was already dead.
His identity is being withheld until his family has been notified.
The dead man was jammed so tightly that rescue workers were unable to remove him. They winched the lift down in the hope that the body would come free, but it was only on the ground floor that they were finally able to extract the victim.
“It was very hard to get the man’s body out because his head and body were tightly jammed [in the space between the car and the shaft wall],” hotel staff told police. “He had almost no space to breathe.”
Police have offered two theories as to what happened.
They said that after the elevator stopped, the victim, who was staying on the fourth floor, might have opened the doors but then fell into the gap between the car and the shaft wall.
The other possibility is that when he called the elevator to the fourth floor, the car was already stuck on the third floor. But the doors opened anyway, so he walked in and fell, becoming trapped.
They said that, whatever the reason, the gap the man became jammed in was so tight that he was unable to breathe.
They are currently gathering more information to establish what happened.
The Swiss embassy has been notified of the death.
Story: The Phuket News