Wedding party rescued from uptown Charlotte hotel elevator

The Charlotte Fire Department said elevator calls happen daily in the city, but this call was different.
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 10:10 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Imagine going out to celebrate on your wedding night but you end up trapped in a hotel elevator for hours.

That happened this past weekend to a wedding party in an uptown Charlotte hotel.

The couple said they were heading to a reception on the 16th floor to celebrate with their guests, but they never made it to the top floor to thank them. Instead, the newlyweds have an amazing story to tell for years to come.

Early Sunday morning, Charlotte firefighters rescued a wedding party from a stuck elevator at the Grand Bohemian Hotel.

“It was wild, but a crazy, fun, memorable experience that’s one for the books,” said Victoria Jha, who married her husband, Panav Jha, hours before the incident.

The couple was celebrating their second wedding ceremony, a western-style wedding Friday and a traditional Indian-style ceremony Saturday.

“We go up maybe five feet and then just stopped,” Panav Jha said. “The door was slightly ajar, so I was like, ‘Hmm, that’s not normal.’”

The Charlotte Fire Department said elevator calls happen daily in the city, but this call was different.

One, it was a wedding party stuck in the elevator. Two, it wasn’t a typical elevator entrapment; this incident was proving to be complex.

“We went through all of the normal troubleshooting that you do on an elevator call and none of that was working, so that’s when we realized we were going to elevate it to what it ended up being, what was a rope rescue,” David Budd, a firefighter for the Charlotte Fire Department, said.

The six people from the wedding party were rescued one by one using ropes by first responders.

“We do like to lean on the elevator repair folks to help us with those situations, but as a last resort, we have the capability and the equipment to make it work,” said Steven Pritchard, a Charlotte Fire Department captain for Rescue 11, the crew that responded.

“We put them in what’s called a hasty seat, it’s just a simple seat that hooks around them and we hook them up to our rope rigging system,” Michael Claycomb, another firefighter that helped rescue the wedding party, said. “They get raised up from there and it’s a simple process for them at least, for us it’s a little complex.”

“We were in there for close to two and a half hours,” Panav Jha said. “I would say, the rest is an experience.”

Despite the setback and not being able to see their wedding guests before the night was over, the couple is positive about the experience.

“It’s kind of like a blessing in disguise. I’d like to say I can’t imagine if this was me alone or him alone, at least we got to spend it together, so that’s what mattered,” said Victoria Jha.

The couple being stuck on the elevator adds to their list of wedding memories that will live on for years.

“It’s going to be one we remember forever. I’m going to tell my kids your mom was so beautiful, the fire department had to come,” said Panav Jha.

The Charlotte Fire Department said the crew that rescued the wedding party recently trained on a similar incident within the past three weeks so that training was timely for what turned into a complicated elevator rescue.