Sunday 21 January 2018

Report on death of boy (3) in lift shaft to be sent to DPP 'in weeks'

Solomon Soremekun, who died after falling into a lift shaft
Solomon Soremekun, who died after falling into a lift shaft
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

AN investigation into the death of a young boy in a lift shaft will be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) within weeks.

Solomon Soremekun (3) died after he suffered crush injuries following a freak accident at the Hynes building on St Augustine Street in Galway city on January 13 of last year.

A health and safety investigation was immediately launched and the elevator was sealed off. More than 14 months later, that investigation is now almost complete.

The Irish Independent understands that the investigation will reach completion within a matter of weeks. It will then be forwarded to the DPP for review.

It is understood the investigation focused on how the little boy managed to fall into the lift shaft of the three-storey building.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has carried out a detailed technical examination while an examination was also carried out by a private engineer for the family. The lift was later removed for further technical analysis.

A spokesperson for the HSA said: "The investigation is still ongoing.

"A file will be sent to the DPP when it is completed in accordance with HSA policy."

The tragedy occurred when the little boy accompanied his mother Omolara Alibi and three sisters to the Social Welfare Offices on the first floor of the Hynes building.

The family had only been in Galway a number of weeks when the incident occurred.

It was as they were leaving the building that Solomon got trapped in the lift, which snapped shut behind him before the rest of the family could enter.

When fire crews gained access, the little boy was discovered in the lift shaft.

He had sustained serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Solomon's devastated mother, a nurse who is originally from Nigeria, has remained in the city with her surviving children.

She said she wants to see the investigation findings made public when they are completed to ensure that no other family endures a similar tragedy.

Shortly after the tragic death, the HSA issued an alert, warning lift operators that certain types of lifts can open between floors, while in motion, if the door is pressed upon from the inside.

It warned that an "issue" has been identified with a number of passenger lifts when in motion between floors when pressure is applied to the doors.

It warned this can lead to the doors opening, "exposing persons to a potential hazard".

As a result the HSA commenced an urgent inspection programme to "ascertain the extent and nature of the passenger lifts involved."

Irish Independent

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