A man who was injured after a hotel lift plummeted three floors to the ground has told the High Court that, just before it went into free fall, the lift swayed and felt like it was "hanging on a thread".
Kevin Meehan suffered multiple fractures to the spine and was in a wheelchair for three months after the lift at the Killarney Plaza Hotel dropped three floors and crashed into to the underground basement car park in 2011.
"There was an extremely loud bang and the lift dropped a foot. It swayed from side to side and it felt like it was hanging on a thread. There was another huge loud bang and it started to freefall," he told Mr Justice Michael Hanna.
“I saw the horror in my wife’s face. The next moment, we were thown to the ground with huge force. There was dust, smoke and glass everywhere. It was like a bomb going off.”
He said they had no phone signal in the underground car park where the lift had landed and the emergency phone in the lift and alarm had disconnected.
“We were banging and screaming and shouting at the top of our lungs for help,” he said.
After two porters found them, the emergency services were called, he added.
Mr Meehan had to be lifted out of the wreckage of the lift and was put on a hotel laundry trolley because the ambulance could not get to the lift where it had crashed in the basement.
He and his wife Jennie Wong are among five people from the same extended family who have sued over the incident which occurred as they tried to return to their rooms in the hotel after a wedding ceremony on July 9th, 2011.
Mr Meehan’s brother Andrew, and his sister in law Patricia O’Leary, from Co Meath, earlier this week settled on confidential terms their actions.
Kevin Meehan, from Celbridge, Co Kildare has sued the hotel owners, Shawcove Ltd with registered offices at Castleisland, Co Kerry, and companies involved in installing and maintaining lifts Ellickson Engineering Ltd, in receivership, and Kilell Ltd, both of Kilmurry, Waterford; Otis Ltd, Naas Road Business Park, Dublin and Otis Elevator Ireland Ltd, of the same address; as well as lift components manufacturer Daldoss Elevetronic Spa of Valsugana, Italy.
It is claimed there was a failure to ensure the intended pathway from the car park was safe and free from hazard and a failure to install a properly functioning lift from the car park to the hotel.
The court previously heard liability was conceded in 2019 and the cases are before the court for assessment of damages only.
Paul Meehan’s case and Ms Wong’s case will be heard by the court next week.
In 2017, Ellickson Engineering Ltd, now in receivership was fined €750,000 after it was found guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court of a single breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act over the installation of the hotel lift in and around April 2004.