Lift failure in Marks and Spencer causes alarm

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A WOMAN has spoken out after being stuck in a lift with her five-year-old disabled daughter – and the alarm system didn’t work.

Joanna Rout, 36, from Angmering, and her daughter Rosina, were two of the six people stuck in a lift at Chichester’s Mark’s and Spencer’s food store last Wednesday (April 2).

Two elderly people were also stuck in the lift, and Miss Rout said an ambulance was called to one who was ‘having a panic attack’.

When the six people were in the lift on Wednesday afternoon, it took more than 20 minutes before anyone realised, because the alarm system failed.

“It stopped really abruptly,” she said. “The alarm system didn’t work. It went to Vodaphone voicemail service and said we needed to top-up.”

Eventually someone shouted down to them, and the emergency services were called, but Miss Rout said they were in the lift for well over an hour.

Water and biscuits were passed down to them, but she said her daughter, who has spina bifida, was uncomfortable, and more needed to be done to make sure it did not happen again.

Miss Rout said her daughter was ‘scared out of her wits’.

“It is one of my fears, being stuck in a lift,” she said. “But it wouldn’t have been so bad if we’d have actually been able to talk to somebody.”

However she did praise the fire service, who were at the scene at 12.30pm, and managed to rescue the people stuck in the lift within an hour of arriving.

“The store manager was there when we got out and all he said was sorry and would we like a cup of tea.

“We mentioned the alarm system, but he seemed to pass the buck to the lift company.

“Interesting to know that if it happens again, some poor people will experience the same level of incompetence.

“I then got a letter through from Marks and Spencer with a £50 voucher, 
but I want to know what they’re going to do to improve it.”

A Marks & Spencer spokeswoman said: “This was an isolated incident and the lift fault was immediately repaired by an engineer.

“Following the incident, we ensured that the customers involved were well looked after.”