Collier Row lift plunge survivor in fresh trauma
PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:49 15 September 2014
The horror of a 13-storey plummet that nearly cost a Collier Row pensioner her life came rushing back when she found herself stuck in the same lift 15 years on.
Geraldine Tattam, 65, of high-rise Highfield Tower, Bolberry Road, was travelling down from her 14th-floor council flat shortly after moving in when the lift cable snapped and sent the pensioner, with her daughter and then six-month-old grandson, falling more than a hundred feet.
Ever since she has been wary of using the elevator, favouring the 196 steps unless she has heavy shopping.
Three weeks ago, Ms Tattam fought off her fears and used the lift, only to find herself trapped inside for two hours.
“I’m asthmatic and diabetic so sometimes I have to use it.
“But when I was trapped I thought I was going to have a panic attack - I’ve just had enough now.
“It was a very scary experience.”
And Ms Tattam, who lives in the flat with her 36-year-old son, said the lift still makes a “funny noise” and her ordeal wasn’t a lone incident.
“It happened to my son the other day,” she said.
“The lift dropped a little bit and then stopped but he managed to get himself out by pulling the doors open.
“He’s much stronger than me.”
Havering Council, which manages the building, said it would apologise personally to Ms Tattam.
Cllr Damien White, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, said: “We are really very sorry to hear that Ms Tattam was trapped in the lift. A combination of factors led to a delay in responding to this incident.
“A technician has since reviewed the condition of the lift and it is now fully working.
“This was a very unfortunate incident and we want to reassure tenants that this doesn’t happen very often.”
But Ms Tattam has asked to move.
“I’ve never really disliked living her,” she said. “There’s a nice view, but after this I’ve had enough. I want the council to move me.”