A woman was found dead inside the elevator of her building in Xi’an city in China’s Shaanxi Province after being trapped there for nearly 30 days.
Wu, 43, was discovered dead inside the elevator in the Shuixiehuadu residential complex on Tuesday. Witnesses said that when they found her body, her fingers were deformed and there were scratches on the walls of the elevator.
The elevator had reportedly broken down in January, following which the residents filed a complaint on January 30.
In response, the elevator company, Shaanxi Kaiwen Mechanical and Electrical Equipment Company, sent two repairmen who instead of carrying out repairs shut the elevator down. The duo had apparently called out once to check if anyone was still inside the elevator before they shut it down.
Since then, the company failed to take any action for over a month.
Wu’s relatives and neighbors say that she had been suffering from a mental illness, and had been living alone after a divorce, with hardly anyone ever visiting her. Although some neighbors had taken note of her absence in the time that she was trapped, no one followed up.
With the case coming to light, the Gaoling district government issued a statement on Saturday, saying that the police will be conducting a thorough investigation.
The police have, so far, determined that the elevator company should take the responsibility, because as per regulations the workers were required to open the elevator door to check if someone is trapped inside before shutting it down. Two people in charge of the elevator company have been detained.
The community’s residents, however, believe that the issue goes far beyond merely being the responsibility of the elevator company. According to them, the residential community’s management company, Xi’an Huicheng Property Management Company, had consistently been negligent in fulfilling its fundamental responsibility – that of maintaining the facilities.
What’s more, security, the residents claim, is another area where the management had failed, as evident from the burglaries reported last year.
In fact, it was only after the residents began pushing that the property management company resumed the elevator repair work, which eventually led to the accidental discovery of Wu’s body.
In response to the complaints, the Gaoling district government said on Sunday that it has suspended the Xi’an Huicheng Property Management Company’s license and has assigned the community a new property management company.
Moreover, the government has also had the nine other elevators in the residential community checked, and said it will initiate checks on all the property management companies in the city, along with assessing the safety issues related to elevators in residential areas.