Saturday, 4 February 2012

Accidents will happen, our wonderful emergency services

I've just returned from Malta - it was hard to force myself to stay there, in the sunshine, for four whole weeks whilst my friends and family stayed shivering in the UK, but I managed it.

Friday the thirteenth passed uneventfully ... I'm not superstitious, touch wood, so hardly noticed its passing.

A few days later we got on a bus.  One of the side ceiling panels immediately in front of us had been unlocked, and was swinging from its hinges.  As the bus travelled along, it continued to move.  Suddenly it fell on to the heads of the six passengers below it.  The bus driver heard the commotion and pulled up as soon as he could.

He walked to where we were, picked up the panel and carried it to the front of the bus.  No word of apology.  Nothing.  

A gaping hole glared down at passengers still gazing in disbelief.

Fortunately nobody sustained any serious injury, although a couple did receive hospital attention.

On our return to the hotel, we discovered one of the two elevators out of service.  It transpired that it had fallen from the sixth floor down to the basement whilst carrying six passengers.  None of them needed hospital treatment, but they were very shaken.

One of the worst aspects was that on opening the lift, they were told that they had overloaded the capacity of the elevator - which is supposed to take eight people.  Two of the passengers were elderly ladies of shortish stature.  Again, no apology was forthcoming - it seems to be a Maltese trait in the service industries.

The aspect of this incident that I find most satisfying is the presence of mind of one of the passengers, who, not knowing what to do, dialled 999 on her mobile phone.  The unflappable emergency services operator in the UK proceeded to calm down the distracted passenger, phoned the Bella Vista Hotel in Qawra, Malta, and advised them that there was an emergency to attend to.

Ten out of ten to the emergency services.  Nought out of ten to the Bella Vista staff.

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