27-year-old Mangaloean survives 59-hour ordeal in lift shaft pit

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BANGALORE: He plunged five floors headlong into a lift shaft pit. Fifty-nine hours later, his friends and police who had given up hopes of him being alive walked into the pit only to find him breathing.

A day later on Wednesday, lift mechanic and Mangalore native Sudhakar Poojary, 27, was responding to treatment at a private hospital on Outer Ring Road, near Marathahalli. Sudhakar had fallen into the lift shaft pit at an under construction apartment in Kaadubeesanahalli, Yamalur, off Old Airport Road, where he had gone for maintenance work on a newly-installed elevator, on Sunday.

“I spoke to him last around 9 on Sunday morning and he was going to Yamalur on work,” said Subash Shettigar, a construction contractor and roommate of Sudhakar. The duo stays in a room in Hoody, off Old Madras Road.

“Usually Sudhakar would return at night and talk to his family in Mangalore. But on Sunday night he didn’t return. We called his cell phone many times but it was out of range,” Subash said.


Subash and other friends searched in vain for Sudhakar everywhere possible, including the under-construction building where he was working, through Sunday night. The nine-floor apartment complex had seven lifts and the group searched six of them. With the seventh lift standing still on the topmost floor, the friends did not bother to check its shaft pit.

“We approached Mahadevapura police, filed a missing complaint on Monday morning and left all our mobile numbers, including Sudhakar’s, with the police,” Subash said.

On Monday and Tuesday, the police and friends continued searching for Sudhakar but to no avail. According to Mahadevapura police officers, they tried to triangulate Sudhakar’s location by calling his mobile phone. But it continued to remain out of range.

An officer was asked to keep a tab of the mobile tracking. Around 6pm on Tuesday, Sudhakar’s mobile sprang to life for a brief moment and rang. The second call too elicited the ring. But there was no response later. It was enough for police to zero in on the phone’s location in Yamalur.

They immediately called up Subash and other friends and told them they had located Sudhakar.

“When the officer said Yamalur, I realized Sudhakar had told me he was working in an apartment there. Along with the police, we rushed there. Given that he is a lift mechanic, our first focus was on the lift shaft pit,” he said.

They finally found Sudhakar at the bottom of the pit around 8pm. As Sudhakar lay immobile, they thought he was dead. They carried the ‘body’ out but a policeman noticed he was still breathing. He was immediately rushed to a hospital nearby where he is undergoing treatment.

Doctors said Sudhakar suffered a brain injury and multiple fractures. Friends said although Sudhakar was not speaking he was responding when they called his name.

Police are clueless how Sudhakar fell into the shaft pit as there was no one at the site on Sunday. The complex was almost complete. They suspect he fell from the fifth floor as the lift door on that floor was open.

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