She left her ninth floor flat to take her child for a walk. Between the third and fourth storey, the lift got jammed. Natalia desperately tried to force open the door and push her son Vladimir’s pram through the gap. But the pram got trapped in the door, while the lift suddenly started moving up and down, crushing the infant.
The 38-year-old rushed to phone her husband Oleg who was in the family flat. Minutes after she made the call, she was crushed too. There was around five minutes between their deaths.
Oleg said: “She called me from the lift, crying and shouting, saying our baby was dead.”
He said he and a male relative rushed down the stairs from the flat in Simferopol, Crimea, and with other neighbours again forced open the door, pulling out the crushed child and the pram.
Oleg added: “My son was squeezed together with his pram, he was hanging there with his head down. We thought he might be still alive. We cut the pram and then the lift suddenly began to move up killing my wife too.”
He said: “The lift was just going crazily up and down… First it killed our son, and then it killed my wife too. I can’t believe that they are both dead now.”
Natalia and her son were buried in the same coffin in a funeral service in Simferopol, a Black Sea region annexed by Russia from Ukraine by military force in 2014. Neighbours had repeatedly claimed that the authorities had failed to repair the ageing lift which often broke.
Oleg, who is now in charge of the couples two other children Valeria,14, and Mikhail, eight, has vowed to sue those responsible.
He said: “I will sue them. I know who is in charge of these blocks. I will sue their bosses, they did nothing to repair the equipment.”
A criminal investigation is also underway by the Russian authorities in Crimea. The Russian criminal code allows for a maximum punishment of ten years in jail for causing death by providing unsafe facilities.