An inspection following the lift accident at the University of Groningen on 17 January found that the fall was caused by badly adjusted brakes.
Translation by Traci White
NU.nl reports that 14 researchers and students were inside the lift at pharmacy faculty when it fell six floors. The lift, which started on the first floor and was headed to the ninth floor: “When the passengers tried to leave the lift on the ninth floor, the doors closed uncontrolled. The lift began to move and descended to the sixth floor, at which point the emergency brakes came online”, according to a press release from the university.
The lift had gotten stuck on the sixth floor for about an hour and then fell while mechanics were trying to fix it. “It began an uncontrolled fall and it could not be slowed down. The lift came to an abrupt stop in the basement when it struck the hydraulic buffer.” One person in the lift was admitted to the nearby hospital due to a knee injury.
The cause of the January accident – a “badly adjusted brake” which was taxed by being at “nearly full capacity” (the lift can hold up to 16 people) – was made known during a press conference at the university on Friday. Despite regular maintenance and a motor which had been replaced in May of 2018, the issue with the lift in question somehow went unnoticed.
In the press release, University of Groningen president Jouke de Vries says, “The accident was an extremely frightening experience for the students and staff who were stuck inside, and the incident left a lasting impression on everyone involved.” The university is currently re-evaluating the lift maintenance procedure, and all 11 of the lifts inside the building at Antonius Deusinglaan 1 have been re-inspected over the past month.