Daisy Dumas – Balinese police are investigating the catastrophic failure of a lift that left five hotel workers dead at a resort on Friday.
The accident took place at Ubud's Ayuterra Resort about 1pm and is believed to have occurred when a cable in the inclined lift carrying the three women and two men snapped, plunging them 100 metres down a steep ravine at the hillside resort.
All five worked in the hotel's housekeeping department. They have been identified as Sang Putu Bayu Adi Krisna, 19, Wayan Aries Setiawan, 23, Ni Luh Superningsih, 20, Kadek Hardiyanti, 24, and Kadek Yanti Pradewi, 19. Two of the deceased died at the scene and three died later in hospital.
Surveillance camera footage of the moment of the accident posted by local media publication Kumparan shows the cable-operated lift hurtling down the steep track, which connected the upper section of the hotel to facilities further down the cliffside.
A cook at the hotel, Ketut Suwiarta, told local media that he heard screams after his five colleagues entered the lift, followed by crashing sounds. He then rushed to help the injured and alert emergency services.
Balinese police are investigating the accident.
On Monday, Ubud's police chief, Made Uder, told media: "The steel swing rope was not strong enough to pull the weight upwards, which was quite heavy, and the safety wedge or brake did not function, so the elevator slid downwards at high speed... As a result, the five elevator passengers died."
The lift is not believed to have had an emergency brake.
The deputy governor of Bali, Cok Ace, told local media he had seen a permit showing that the lift had been declared safe as part of routine inspections in November 2022.
However, Gianyar regency's police chief, Ketut Widiada, said police were investigating whether a reduction in the number of sling ropes supporting the elevator had caused the accident. In 2019, the lift was filmed operating with the use of three sling ropes, reports the Bali Tribun, but was operating with the use of a single rope at the time of the accident.
Guests at the resort are believed to have been moved to alternative accommodation while investigations are under way.
The owner of Ayuterra Resort has offered to cover the costs of funerals for the victims and will provide compensation to their families, but the payout of about $4,000 each is on the condition they will not take legal action against the resort, reports News Corp.
The accident has cast a spotlight on the safety record and rights of workers on the holiday island, which is visited by close to 300,000 tourists a month.