US couple miss own wedding reception after being trapped in hotel elevator for hours

Photo of the Jhas with the local fire crew after being rescued from the elevator
A wedding day to remember. Photo credit: Charlotte Fire Department / Facebook

A bride and groom took 'getting hitched' to new heights when they became trapped in an elevator together for two hours, causing them to miss their own wedding reception. 

Newlyweds Victoria and Panav Jha had been taking the elevator to their reception on the 16th floor of the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina when the lift suddenly stopped between floors, trapping the couple, Victoria's sister and three other guests inside. 

The group, all of whom were unharmed in the incident, were eventually rescued by Charlotte Fire Department, who hoisted the elevator up a few floors - but unfortunately for the Jhas, the party had already ended.

"When it first happened, I thought it had stopped for a few seconds. It'll restart. And then we noticed that the door was just slightly ajar," Panav told the local television channel WJZY.

Elaborating in an interview with CNN, he said: "We got up maybe five feet, and then boom, the doors kind of stuck. Then the doors started to open, so I could see the concrete wall right in front of me, and I could see the concrete wall behind me, and I was like, 'that's not normal'."

Victoria, meanwhile, was just happy she hadn't been alone in the elevator, telling the outlet: "The elevator had a glitch and here we are... at least it wasn't just one of us."

According to reports, the firefighters rigged up a winch to hoist the elevator, which had become lodged between the first and second storeys of the hotel. The guests were then strapped into harnesses and climbed to safety through an opening in the top of the lift and out onto the fourth floor, which the firefighters deemed the best access point. 

"They harnessed me up, got me in full gear, and pulled me up four floors with a fireman," Victoria said. 

Still clad in their traditional Indian wedding attire, the smiling couple posed for a quick pic with the crew after their dramatic rescue, which the department later shared to its social media. 

"WEDDING NIGHT RESCUE: Six people were trapped in a hotel elevator between the first and second floor. All six who Charlotte firefighters pulled to safety were part of the Jha wedding party [sic]. Mr and Mrs Jha, we hope today is the start of a long and happy life," the department captioned the snap on Twitter.

In a separate post on Facebook, they added: "First, congratulations to Mr and Mrs Jha on your wedding day. Although Charlotte Fire wasn't formally invited, we weren't exactly wedding crashers either."

Despite the wedding being one to remember, Victoria noted she was upset the debacle stopped her from saying goodbye to her guests, which "put a damper" on the eventful day. 

Panav had a more optimistic outlook, telling local media the rescue was his main character moment: "[It felt like] James Bond. Maybe Mission Impossible."