09 May Dentist hurt in Byculla museum lift crash dies
A 63-year-old dentist who sustained serious injuries in a lift collapse at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla last month, died on Thursday at Masina Hospital. The Grant Road resident’s last rites will be performed on Saturday.
Dr. Arnavaz Havewalla, who practised at Gamadia Polyclinic in Tardeo, visited the museum along with her daughter around 2 p.m. on April 28. They entered a hydraulic lift on the first floor and it started falling towards the ground floor rapidly. It then got stuck between the first and ground floors for about five to six minutes. Due to the impact of the collapse, the mother and the daughter suffered back injuries. Dr. Havewalla suffered severe multiple injuries, including a pelvic fracture.
“When our staff realised that they were trapped inside the lift, they ran to help. They pressed the ‘down’ button and the lift landed on the ground floor,” said a senior officer from the museum management.
They were rushed to Masina Hospital in an ambulance and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. While the daughter was discharged after a few days, Dr. Havewalla was shifted to the ward. She suffered a cardiac arrest on Thursday.
The lift was installed after the museum’s restoration in 2008 and was meant for senior citizens and the disabled. The museum management said that the lift did not have a certificate from the Public Works department as it was just a levitator.
The management said Expert Equipments installed the lift and the contract required it to take care of the lift’s annual maintenance and undertake an inspection every quarter. After the last inspection in December, the report said the ‘lift was in working condition.’
The next inspection in April was not carried out and the management has filed a police complaint against the contractor for negligence. The management has shut the lift and will conduct a third party audit before carrying out repairs.
Tasneem Mehta, the museum’s honorary director and managing trustee, said, “The levitator’s manufacturer said in its report that the occupants did not close the door properly, pressed a bunch of buttons and the emergency brakes failed. After they got stuck, our staff pressed the button from downstairs and it came down. They then took her to the hospital. Instead of blaming the museum, it reflects on the care of Masina. She was out of our charge.”
She said the contractor should have alerted the museum if the lift had become old. “The April inspection was delayed. We were pursuing the contractor. The police has also said that it was the vendor’s fault.” On the missing PWD certificate, she said, “That we will have to check with the architect.” Ms. Mehta said the museum did not have funds to award compensation and the trust will have to discuss the matter with the BMC.
Abhinash Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone III), said that an FIR was registered early this week. He said, “We had registered an FIR for causing injury and endangering life due to negligence under the Indian Penal Code and will be adding relevant sections in light of the recent developments.”