Lift ordeal for former sailors in dockyard

FORMER sailors from Bognor Regis have spoken of their terror at being trapped in a lift for some 40 minutes.

The party of 11 from the town’s branch of the Royal Naval Association, including their wives and partners, were attending an event at Portsmouth Dockyard when the emergency occurred.

They got into the lift at the site’s historic Semaphore Tower for a function with another branch and RNA officials on its second floor when the lift became stuck.

One of those involved, former town mayor Ken Scutt, 85, said: “The doors would not open. We were banging on them but nobody seemed to miss us. It got really hot and steamy in the lift. People started passing out, including me, and one man had a panic attack.

“There was no room to faint. So, you just fell to the floor and would come round among people’s legs. Conditions were really terrible.”

Colin Holden, 77, the branch’s chairman, said: “It was quite frightening in the lift. I nearly fainted twice.”

The ordeal ended when one of the group dialled 999. Firefighters and paramedics arrived. They found the lift stuck 4ins from the second floor. They prised open the doors enough to get oxygen masks and bottled water to those inside.

They eventually managed to open the doors to rescue those who were trapped and make sure they were unharmed. “The emergency services were brilliant,” said Mr Holden. “They stayed with us for quite some time.”

The incident occurred at 11.20am last Friday.