Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Russia, disabled man builds DIY chairlift after waiting 6 years for council to install elevator in his building

From The Daily Mail in the UK:

Fed up with waiting for the local council to come good on a promise to install an elevator in his apartment building, Dmitry Bibikow literally took matters into his own hands.

The 32-year-old Russian, disabled in a climbing accident, was told when he bought his fifth-floor apartment that an elevator would be installed in the building, to help him get in and out each day.

But, as days turned into weeks, months and years, Mr Bibikow was forced to employ the help of his friends every time he wanted to leave or return to his home in Voronezh, in western Russia.

Fed up, he decided to build his own elevator of sorts - a chairlift that raises him and his chair up the outside of the building to his fifth-floor balcony.

He said: 'When I bought the flat I had been told an elevator would be built - but after waiting six years I decided to take matters into my own hands.'
He added: 'Living on the fifth floor without a lift was a nightmare because I couldn't get in or out of the block without someone's help.

'It was like being in a prison - so I decided to sort it out myself.'

With a little the help from his friends, the former sky diver and mountaineer built his own personal lift to haul him up the side of the building.

When not being used, the winch stays up on the fifth floor. It can be lowered by hand or electronically from ground level.

Now Mr Bibikow,married and a father of one, says he can get in and out within minutes and can even beat his neighbours to the fifth floor.

He said: 'I used to do a lot of mountaineering before I had an accident which crippled me, so my arms are really strong and I can get from my flat to the ground and back up again before other people living on the same floor.'

It is uncertain whether the authorities will allow Dmitry to keep his home-made chairlift - but the council is keeping a tactful silence on the matter.