herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

DPP to be given file on lift death of Solomon (4)

THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is to probe the death of a toddler in a lift shaft in Galway city.

Solomon Soremekun (3) died after he suffered crush injuries following a freak incident in Galway city on January 13 of last year.

A Health and Safety Authority (HSA) investigation was immediately launched and the elevator was sealed off. More than 14 months later that investigation is now almost complete.

His heartbroken mother Omolara Alibi has spoken of how she wants to see the findings made public when they are completed to ensure that no other family endures a similar tragedy.

The Herald understands that the investigation will reach completion within a matter of weeks and the case will then be forwarded on to the DPP for review.

It is understood the investigation focused on how the little boy managed to fall into the lift shaft of the three-storey building.

The HSA has carried out a detailed technical probe while a separate examination was also carried out by a private engineer for the boy's family.

The lift was later removed for further technical analysis.

The tragedy occurred when the little boy accompanied his mother and three sisters to the Social Welfare Offices on the first floor of the Hynes building on Galway's St Augustine Street.

The family had only been in Galway a number of weeks when the incident occurred.

It was as they were leaving the building that Solomon got trapped in the lift, which snapped shut behind him before the rest of the family could enter.

When fire crews gained access, the little boy was discovered in the lift shaft.

He had sustained serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Solomon's mother, a nurse from Nigeria, has remained in the city with her surviving children.

She gave an emotional interview three months after the horrific incident.

"I still hear his scream from my sleep every night.

"I keep hearing what he said to me, 'Mummy, mummy, mummy, help, help, mummy'.

"I know I will never be the same, never again," she said at the time.

hazard

Solomon - who would have been five later this month - was artistic and his favourite song was This Little Light of Mine.

Shortly after the tragic death, the HSA issued an alert, warning lift operators that certain types of lifts can open between floors while in motion, if the door is pressed upon from the inside.

It warned that an "issue" has been identified with a number of passenger lifts when in motion between floors.

It warned this can lead to the doors opening, "exposing persons to a potential hazard".

As a result, the HSA commenced an urgent inspection programme to find the nature of the passenger lifts involved.

hnews@herald.ie

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