The trio plunged 40 stories. Pic. Bob Finlayson.
The trio plunged 40 stories. Pic. Bob Finlayson.

Lift plunge: ‘It was like a rollercoaster’

AN interstate tourist says he phoned his family as he waited for emergency crews immediately after his hotel elevator plunged 40 floors.

Reece Lardner and two mates climbed into the lift on the 47th floor at Circle on Cavill in Surfers Paradise and claims within seconds he "felt like a rollercoaster ride - the lift was falling quicker than we were".

"It was fairly instant, we heard some extremely loud bangs and crashes within the elevator shaft," the Canberra public servant said of the October 2016 fall. He was in the lift with friends Thomas Hall and James Slater.

Circle on Cavil in Surfers Paradise, QLD. Picture: Supplied
Circle on Cavil in Surfers Paradise, QLD. Picture: Supplied

"The elevator car was bouncing around in the shaft as it was descending," Mr Lardner told the Bulletin.

"It felt like a rollercoaster ride, the lift was falling quicker than we were. It was like an anti-gravity ride.

"I remember my head being in line with the little numbers above the elevator door at one stage, at eye level, and then the brakes latched on and we were thrown into the ground.

"That happened four or five times until we stopped."

Mr Lardner said the elevator stopped between the seventh and eighth floors. The tiles in the ceiling were cracked and the men showered in debris, he claims.

"We all sort of broke down immediately. We were in a lot of pain. The adrenaline was rushing and we didn't know if it had stopped for good."

He said they used the emergency phone to call the front desk.

"The guys didn't really believe it had happened. After we got off the phone we just called the emergency services.

"I called my family and told them I loved them because I didn't know what would happen.

"I just white-knuckled it for the next hour - waiting to be freed. I could hear the sirens coming, which was a relief. We were in there for about an hour."

Mr Lardner said once the doors opened the ordeal continued.

"It was like a movie, there was maybe a metre gap between the ground at level eight and the top of the lift door. That in itself was scary. We thought when we climbed through on to the level and the elevator could fall again on us."

He said the firefighters talked them into climbing out of the lift and then they were taken to hospital.

"I suffer from nightmares regularly from it," Mr Lardner said. "I wake up with the sensation of falling. My back and spine has issues."

The three men are suing elevator maintenance company Kone Elevators for more than $200,000 each in damages.

Shine Lawyers' solicitor Tina Ibraheem said what they went through shouldn't be underestimated.

"Due to the force on impact when the lift finally came to a stop, all three of our clients were injured," Shine Lawyers' solicitor Tina Ibraheem said.

"What's worse is they were then trapped in the lift, distressed, claustrophobic and in significant pain for an hour before they could be released."

Circle on Cavill has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

A spokesman from Kone Australia declined to comment.

Mr Lardner says he works on the 10th floor of a building in Canberra and freaks out any time it makes a jolt or noise.