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April 11, 2012

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52nd floor lift drama in 'bottle opener'

A LIFT in the Shanghai World Financial Center, the tallest building on China's mainland, suffered a malfunction yesterday - repeatedly pinging terrified occupants between the first and 52nd floor.

No one was injured in the drama at the city landmark, widely known as the 'bottle opener' due to its distinctive shape, but the dozen or so office workers trapped inside endured a harrowing experience.

Management of the SWFC at the Lujiazui financial zone said the lift has been removed from service pending an investigation.

Office workers reported the lift doors closing heavily on the first floor, and seeing smoke.

The elevator then went up and down between the first and 52nd floors five times, before finally coming to a stop at the first floor, according to workers in the building.

"I was about to leave the lift when it closed in front of me," said a white-collar worker, who identified herself as "Sara."

"I was sure I'd be injured if I was hit by the doors."

During the ordeal, Sara said another scared woman clenched her arm so tightly she left bruises.

Sara uploaded a picture of her bruised arm.

As the elevator journeyed up and down, occupants screamed and desperately pressed the emergency button to try to contact the property managers.

An investigation is now being conducted by the elevator manufacturer, German multinational ThyssenKrupp.

Office workers in the building said this is not the first time problems have been encountered with its lifts.

A breakdown occurred last month during a brief downtown blackout caused by a kite string becoming wrapped around high-tension wires.

Sara said she is demanding an apology from management and was seeing lawyers.

Completed in 2008, the 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center stands at 492 meters.

Meanwhile, an apartment building property management firm was yesterday told by Xuhui District People's Court to compensate a woman who suffered bruises when a lift plunged three floors last year.


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