More details are coming to light regarding the Friday, 01 September 2023, failure of the open-air gondola inclinator-lift at The Ayu Terra Resort in Ubud, Bali, that claimed the lives of five housekeepers employed at the Hotel.
As reported by Kompas.com, continuing police investigations have revealed critical details surrounding the tragic accident, including:
Kompas reported on Wednesday, 06 September 2023, that the lift inclinator was initially installed in 2019. The most recent safety inspection was performed in November 2022. The lift was located on a steep embankment of approximately 35 degrees, traversing a distance of 60 meters.
Lack of Lifting Cables
The head of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Gianyar Police Precinct, AKP Ario Seno Wimoko, said the lift was designed to function with three steel “slings” or lifting cables. Police, however, could only identify one sling at the accident scene. “In the beginning (at installation), there were three slings; now there is (only) one. In 2022, there were still three (slings). If I am not wrong, in 2023, these (slings) were replaced,” said Wimoko.
Police suspect that this was the main reason for the accident when the lift failed because the only remaining single sling broke. Wimoko added: “The steel cable is sufficient to lift 500 kilograms, maybe even one ton. In any case, there was only one cable without any backup capacity, said Wimoko.
Police suspect that two slings were removed at the request of the Hotel’s owner. Ario surmised: “Maybe the owner asked the technicians (to remove the two cables), hoping this would make the care and maintenance of the lift easier or facilitate the replacement of cables, or something of this nature.”
The Lift Brakes Did Not Work
The brakes did not function, which should have brought the lift to a complete stop in case of a cable failure. Bali Provincial Police Spokesman Commissioner Jansen Avitus Panjaitan said police discovered that the lift’s brakes did not work. “It is still being investigated to determine why the brakes did not work,” he added.
Police have taken into custody as evidence the following items:
- The lift’s brake wheel
- A 3.85-meter-long section of the broken metal sling
- Another separate 6-meter length of the metal sling
- A safety plate listing the lift’s specifications
Police plan to conduct a reenactment of the accident. Jansen said the reenactment would form part of the scientific investigation being undertaken by the Bali Police Crime Laboratory (Bidlabfor Polda Bali). The test will verify the weight-bearing capabilities of the single sling operating at a 35-degree angle of climb.
Complaints Made One Day Before the Crash
Complaints about the malfunctioning lift had been heard only one day before the accident that killed five people. A friend of Kadek Hardiyani, who was killed in the incident, Ngurah Krisna, said the lift was reported as malfunctioning one day before the accident. Hardiyani, the now-deceased girlfriend of Krisna, had told him how her legs hurt because she had been compelled to travel up and down an external stairway delivering guests’ breakfasts only one day before the fatal accident due to the non-functioning lift
Ngurah Krisna and Kadek Hardiyani were engaged to marry before this year’s end.
On Monday, 04 September 2023, the legal consultant of the Ayu Terra Resort, I Nyoman Wirajaya, announced that the Hotel would not hinder the investigative process surrounding the tragic incident, insisting the Hotel’s management would remain cooperative to help discover the actual cause of the accident.
Wirajaya said: “We will be very cooperative. If you want to interview all the employees, feel free. Go ahead and investigate the owner. We are handing the entire matter to the legal process conducted by the police.”
Bali’s Governor Promises Firm Action
Bali Governor I Wayan Koster has promised firm action against the Hotel if it is determined that there was wrongdoing in how the lift was managed and maintained.
The Governor told Kompas.com on Tuesday, 05 September 2023, that he suspects that routine evaluations and inspections of the lift were improperly performed. As a result, the Governor calls on all tourism operators to routinely evaluate lift operations to preserve and protect the reputation of Bali tourism. Adding: “Let this be a lesson to us all (including) tourism operators to please consider such situations.”
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