Parts of lift that collapsed in Killarney hotel found to have fatigue cracks

Parts of the lift that collapsed in the Killarney Plaza Hotel injuring five people were found to have fatigue cracks.

The company that installed the Daldoss Easylife lift, Ellickson Engineering Ltd of Kilmurry, Co Waterford is on trial for a breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.

The breach is for installing the lift in April 2004 and failing to ensure that nothing about the way it was erected made it unsafe when in a place of work, and by failing to install a safety electrical system.

The trial is underway at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court, but the  company is not represented in court; a not guilty plea was entered on their behalf.

Consulting engineer Damien Power first examined the scene of the Killarney Plaza Hotel lift collapse on the 11th of July 2011, two days after the incident.

Parts of the lift were shown in court during his evidence.

Mr Power said the prop, which was to act as a buffer at the top of the lift system was missing; he said it did exist at some point but was not in place at the time of the collapse.

He said rails, which were to act as a brake system when the safety gear engaged, were not properly screwed in; bolts were loose.

The system engaged initially but then collapsed.

He said it wasn’t possible to say what distance the lift fell initially before the brake system kicked in, but he said from brake marks the lift fell 5.8 metres to the ground on its second fall.

He said parts of the lift showed fatigue cracks, which would have developed over time; they did not occur in July 2011 at the time of the collapse.

He noted that catastrophic damage was caused in the collapse on July 9th 2011.

Kilell Ltd, which acquired the trading name and premises of Ellickson Engineering Ltd from a receiver in 2011, are not being prosecuted.