Newlyweds rescued after trapped in elevator on their wedding day

ByHannah Goetz, WSOC
Thursday, February 23, 2023
Charlotte couple rescued after trapped in an elevator on their wedding day
Charlotte couple speaks out after firefighters had to rescue them on their wedding day after they got stuck in an elevator in their hotel

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A North Carolina couple's wedding night didn't quite go as planned after getting stuck in an elevator after their reception.

Panav and Victoria Jha's wedding was anything but typical.

"I was freaking out. I'm not going to lie. It's only like you hear this in movies," Victoria said.

After their wedding Saturday night, the couple loaded into the elevator of the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Charlotte, heading to the 16th floor for their after party when the unimaginable happened.

"We've got up maybe five feet and then boom, doors kind of stuck," Panay said. "The door started to open and so I could see like the concrete wall right in front of me, and I could see the concrete wall behind me. I was like, that's not normal."

Instead of wedding bells, they were hearing the voices of Charlotte firefighters four stories above them setting up for a rescue.

"Basically what we did as a last resort is we rebuilt a new elevator system using ropes and rescue equipment and overhead anchors," Cpt. Stephen Pritchard of the Charlotte Fire Department said.

Crews rappelled down to save the bride, the groom and four of their wedding guests who were in the elevator with them, WSOC reported.

Victoria was in her traditional Indian wedding gown, head to toe in jewels, climbing up the ladder to safety.

"I just had to lift it and just climb the very narrow staircase one after the other," Victoria said.

Panav followed and they took a photo together two and a half hours later safe and sound.

Today, they thanked Charlotte firefighters for their quick response.

"So just express my gratitude and appreciation for you know taking my husband and I out safely," Victoria said. "And the rest of the team and the way you guys did it, it was safe, efficient and I appreciate you all."

It's a story to last a life time, but the question still lingers, did they make it to the after party?

"We did not," Panay said. "The bar closed. We had great friends who were hosting for us. So they took care of everyone."

The hotel released a statement saying both the Grand Bohemian and the fire department went above and beyond for these guests.

As for the Jhas, they are both doctors and hope to go on their honeymoon in May.