Nuns stuck in lift for three nights ‘drank urine’

UPDATED: Two nuns who were trapped in a lift for two days and three nights in Rome - on one of the hottest weekends of the year - reportedly survived off their own urine.

Nuns stuck in lift for three nights 'drank urine'
They nuns said they "prayed a lot" to be rescued. Photo: Shutterstock

The sisters, aged 58 and 68, from Ireland and New Zealand, respectively, got into the malfunctioning lift at a nun's residence on Rome's Via Aurelia on Friday and were finally rescued on Monday morning.

“In order not to lose consciousness, they drank their own urine,” a paramedic was quoted in Tuesday's print edition of La Repubblica as saying.

The pair, who had only arrived at Casa Suore Mariste a few days earlier, became trapped after the lift got stuck while making its descent to the ground floor.

But their cries for help proved futile as the building was empty, and remained so until a cleaner arrived early on Monday morning. They were also without a mobile phone.

The cleaner raised the alarm after ringing the doorbell of the home and not receiving a reply.

Once on the scene, the police obtained a spare set of keys from a nearby religious institute and entered the building.

One police officer headed for the staircase. “Is anybody there?” he shouted, only to be greeted by the feeble reply of the two poor nuns: “Yes, we're here. In the lift.”

The women were rescued by the fire brigade and taken to San Carlo di Nancy hospital, where they were treated for severe dehydration. Temperatures in the capital hit 34 degrees Celsius over the weekend.

“The sisters were almost completely dehydrated,” the paramedic added. “It's a miracle they were still conscious when the emergency services arrived.”

As they boarded the ambulance they told police they had “prayed a lot”, in the hope that their guardian angels would arrive.

Their prayers were finally answered, although they might not make a habit out of using lifts from now on.

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Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.