A woman was found dead in a lift which had become stuck between two floors following a power cut.
Francesca Marchione, 61, was trapped in the elevator for several hours, authorities believe, as they investigate the tragedy in Palermo, Italy.
They understand the residential building experienced a blackout as power failed on Wednesday morning.
Tenants called the fire brigade due to the power cut, who later found Marchione lifeless in the lift when firefighters needed to restart it. An autopsy has now been arranged for the woman.
The elevator doors, according to the early stages of the investigation, were open but Marchione was unable to flee as the lift was between the two floors, each too far to scramble up or down to.
Marchione, who local media says who lived alone, may have tried to force her way out of the mechanism, early investigation suggests.
“After we were alerted that the elevator was not working and that a person might be trapped inside, we immediately intervened.
Unfortunately, when we got there, we found Mrs. Francesca Marchione lifeless inside the elevator,” a spokesperson for the fire service said today.
They added investigators are working to establish the cause of the power failure. “The news has left us dismayed,” one of Ms Marchione’s friends said.
Temperatures across Italy, particularly Palermo’s island of Sicily, have exceeded 40C for days due to a devastating heatwave gripping Southern Europe.
Authorities are thought to be considering this and how hot it would have been in the lift for hours, potentially without water, for Marchione.
Experts are concerned about the heatwave, said to be “silently killing” people both directly – and indirectly as may have been the case in Marchione’s plight on Wednesday.
“Sicily and Sardinia are particularly at risk right now. It is inevitable,” Dr Thomas Smith, associate professor in Environmental Geography, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), told Mirror this week.
In 2021, a dad fell to his death down the shaft of a broken lift after forcing his way out when it suddenly stopped between two floors in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Mark Faulding started to “panic” when the lift came to a halt and waited to 10 to 15 minutes before leveraging open the inner doors, his inquest went onto hear.