"I was like, that's not normal."
A bride and groom missed their own wedding party due to a technical fault at their hotel.
Panav and Victoria Jha, from North Carolina, were heading to the 16th floor of the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Charlotte for an afterparty when the lift jolted to a stop.
The couple were trapped alongside Victoria’s sister and three other wedding guests.
They were stuck in the lift for two hours and missed their party by the time they were freed by the Charlotte Fire Department.
No one suffered any injuries.
The lift jammed between the first and second floors of the hotel.
Panav recalled: “We got up maybe five feet and then boom, doors kind of stuck.
“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.”
Victoria added: “I was freaking out. I’m not going to lie. It’s only like you hear this in movies.”
The bride, who was dressed in a lehenga, found herself having to climb up a narrow staircase on her wedding night.
Speaking about the dress, Victoria said:
“I just had to lift it and just climb the very narrow staircase one after the other.”
Meanwhile, Panav appeared to enjoy himself much more as he compared the incident to “James Bond. Maybe Mission Impossible.”
Charlotte Fire Department crew came to the rescue just after 1 am.
The firefighters set up their rescue rig four floors above the trapped wedding party.
Captain Stephen Pritchard from the fire department said:
“So basically what we did as a last resort is we rebuilt a new elevator system using ropes and rescue equipment and overhead anchors.”
On Twitter, the department wrote:
“WEDDING NIGHT RESCUE: 6 people were trapped in a hotel elevator between the first and second floor.
“All 6 who Charlotte firefighters pulled to safety, were part of the Jha wedding party.
“Mr and Mrs Jha, we hope today is the start of a long and happy life.”
Meanwhile, on its Facebook page, the department joked:
“Although Charlotte Fire wasn’t formally invited, we weren’t exactly wedding crashers either.”
The couple thanked the crew for rescuing them and their guests.
Victoria said: “[I] just express my gratitude and appreciation for taking my husband and I out safely, and the rest of the team and the way you guys did it, it was safe, efficient, and I appreciate you all.”
After being rescued from the lift, the newlyweds and the fire department took a picture together.
They credited the “great friends who were hosting” the wedding party on their behalf for “taking care of everyone”.
Stating that they missed the entire party, Panav said:
“We did not. The bar closed. We had great friends who were hosting for us. So they took care of everyone.”
Victoria said: “We were not able to celebrate or do the last kisses or goodbyes.
“And that’s what put the damper on everything. That’s how the wedding night had to end.”
In a statement, the hotel thanked staff members and the fire crew for their efforts that night.
Panav and Victoria – who are both doctors – plan to go on their honeymoon in May 2023.