Police have launched an investigation after five young hotel workers died when a steel elevator cable broke at a Bali resort, sending the employees plunging 100 meters down a steep slope. The two men and three women who worked in housekeeping at the Ayuterra Resort were inside the elevator when the cable broke around 1 pm on Friday.
The victims have been identified as Kadek Hardiyanti 24, Sang Putu Bayu Adi Krisna, 19, Ni Luh Supernigsih, 20, I Wayan Aries Setiawan, 23, and Kadek Yanti Pradewi, 19, all of whom were from Indonesia. Two of them died instantly on impact, while the remaining three succumbed to their injuries later at the hospital.
Tragedy in Bali
According to the Ubud Police Chief, Police Commissioner Made Uder, the elevator's pulling rope was not strong enough, leading to its rupture, as reported by The Bali Sun.
"The steel swing rope was not strong enough to pull the weight upwards, which was quite heavy, and the safety wedge or brake did not function, so the elevator slid downwards at high speed so this accident could not be avoided," he said. "As a result, the five elevator passengers died."
Bali's Deputy Governor, Cok Ace, who also is the Chair of the Hotel and Restaurant Association Bali, said he reviewed the safety documents of the hotel following the accident.
"This is the first time this has happened, and if we look at a glance, I saw the permits, especially regarding the use and safety of work, regarding the condition of the lift," he said.
"From a routine inspection, one independent consultant said that in November 2022 [it was fine], and it has only been 8 months since they stated that it is still [safe] so of course this will be included in the investigation."
Ketut Suwiarta, a cook at the hotel, reported to local media that he heard screams shortly after the group entered the elevator, followed by crashing sounds. He quickly went outside to assist the victims and also alerted the authorities.
Victims' Families Outraged
The elevator, which was a popular Instagram attraction at the resort, was used by both tourists and hotel staff to travel between the upper levels of the hotel and the lower-level facilities along the ravine's edge.
Bali Police will be leading the investigation into the incident, he further noted.
In light of the ongoing investigation and mourning period, the guests at the resort have been relocated. The resort's owner, Linggawati Utomo, 60, has said that he will pay for the funeral expenses for the deceased hotel staff.
However, there has been a wave of outrage, as the families of the victims received slightly over $4,000 in compensation from their employers, with the stipulation that they would refrain from pursuing legal action against the resort.
According to local reports, the families received amounts ranging from IDR 158.2 million ($16,308) to IDR 166.1 million ($17,122) from the social security program BPJS Ketenagakerjaan. Additionally, they received around IDR 40 million ($4,112) from the resort owners to cover cremation expenses and out of compassion.
However, accepting this support from Ayuterra Resort implies that the families are not eligible to take legal action against the company.
The uncle of Hardiyanti, Nyoman Suarila told local publication Kumparan, that he accepted the terms.
"Even if we sue, our children will not return," he said.
"But we believe in karma. If the company is wrong, then it will get it. That's our principle. If the incident that caused my nephew's death was the fault of a technician or something, it must be processed according to applicable law."
An independent consultant reportedly conducted an inspection of the elevator as recently as November 2022 and determined that it was in operating condition at that time.